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sTR j ()]iN ^^^ gilbert 



LL.D., F.S.A. 



LL.D., F.S.A. 







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The work done by Sir John T. Gilbert was little 
known to, or understood by, the ordinary reading 
public, his manner of pursuing that work was unob- 
trusive, while the amount and the results of it were 
very great. 

To give an outline of his career, an indication of 
its achievements, and at the same time to suggest 
some idea of his unusual and many-sided personality, 
has been recognized as a difficult undertaking. 

His lifelong labours in and for his country were 
begun in boyhood, and carried on too much and too 
often against wind and tide ; yet his rare qualities 
of heart as well as mind secured him lasting friend- 
ships, not only among sympathizers, but among 
opponents. So little was he concerned about future 
estimates of himself, that he left few ordered notes to 
simplify the task of a biographer. Fortunately, the 
Archivist's habit of withholding from destruction 
current papers and letters which might possibly 
include some item of value for his work, preserved 
records which have enabled me to attempt to produce 




a memoir which I trust will in some degree satisfy 
his friends, and interest a certain public. 

I offer my sincere thanks to the correspondents 
and representatives of correspondents who have kindly 
permitted me to print a few of the letters of friends 
and fellow-workers, or others, which remain in great 
quantities to reflect the progress of his labours ; and 
also to show forth something of the aspirations and 
movements in past years of a remarkable group of 
disinterested Irishmen, the working members of the 
Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society. 


Villa Nova, Blackrock, 
Co. Dublin, 

August 15, 1905. 





Family notes — Birth and boyhood — School days — Early devotion 

to chosen work i 


1 848- I 8 50 

Choice of a career — Early book-collecting — Secretary to the Celtic 

Society — Letters 16 


1849- 1853 

Trip to England — Work in the Celtic Society — Irish Quarterly 
Review — Royal Irish Academy — The Mystics — Irish music — 
Letters 28 

I 853-1 860 

History of Dublin — Letters of the period 42 


Member and Honorary Librarian of the Royal Irish Academy — 
Dublin University Magazine — John Edward Pigot's proposed 
newspaper — John O'Donovan — Excursion to Aran — Sir William 

and Lady Wilde — Irish Dictionary — Letters 63 




I 860-1 862 


Irish Manuscripts — St. Isidore's, Rome— Death of O'Donovan and 

O'Curry— Letters 87 


I 863-1 866 

Record Revelations by an Irish Archivist " — Commission of 
Inquiry — Member of the Royal Dubhn Society — History of the 
Viceroys of Ireland — Letters 122 

I 867-1 870 

Secretary to the Pubhc Record Office, Ireland— Dinner Club, R.I. A. 

— Home and social life— Death of his mother— Letters ... 153 


Inspector for Ireland under the Historical Manuscripts Commission 
— Facsimiles of the National Manuscripts of Ireland — Trip 
with D. F. MacCarthy— Letters 165 


Proposal to abolish the office of Secretary to the Public Record 

Ofifice, Ireland — Letters 187 



Abolition of the office of Secretary to the Public Record Office, 
Ireland — Illness of Gilbert — Recovery and return to work — 
Facsimiles of the National Manuscripts of Ireland — Letters . 205 






The Todd Memorial — The Cunningham Fund — " Leabhar na h- 

Uidhri "— " Leabhar Breac "— " Book of Leinster "—Letters . 222 


Work resumed under Historical Manuscripts Commission — Royal 
Irish Academy — Ormonde Manuscripts — Kilkenny Castle — 
Extracts from Diary of Denis Florence MacCarthy — Letters . 238 


I 879- I 880 

Literary Life and Works — " Contemporary History of Affairs in 
Ireland, 1641-1652 " — Completion of the Facsimiles of National 
Manuscripts of Ireland — "History of the Irish Confederation 
and the War in Ireland" — Rinuccini Manuscript Memoirs — 
Trustee of the National Library of Ireland — Letters .... 267 


Boswell's " Life of Johnson " — Charles O'Conor — Dr. S. R. Gardiner 

— Letters 288 


Death of D. F. MacCarthy — Munster Bank losses — Death of Mary 
Gilbert — Chartularies of St. Mary's Abbey and Abbey of St. 
Thomas, Dublin — Governor of National Gallery, Ireland — 
"Dictionary of National Biography" — Dublin Corporation 
Records — Proposed translation of Irish Texts — Letters . . . 316 

I 890- I 89 I 

Marriage and home life 





I 890- I 897 


Literary activity — Additions to library — Books and manuscripts — 

Royal University of Ireland — Knighthood — Letters .... 364 


Death — Some traits and characteristics — Letters 384 


L Samuel Whyte's School, Dublin 403 

II. The Royal Irish Academy 404 

III. Sonnet. By Denis Florence MacCarthy 407 

IV. "A Shamrock from the Irish Shore." By D. F. MacCarthy 408 
V. Secretary of the Public Record Office, Ireland 411 

VI. " Leabhar na h-Uidhri," " Leabhar Breac " 412 

VII. The Ancient Dublin Muniments 415 

VIII. The "Book of Leinster" 419 

IX. The Cunningham Fund 427 

X. Sir Humphrey Gilbert 431 

XL Costello Family 432 

XI 1. "Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland" 

— Master of the Rolls' Series 433 

XIII. Irish Bibliography : Two Papers 437 

XIV. Obituary Notice : Royal Irish Academy 443 

XV. Bibliography of the Works of Sir J. T. Gilbert 445 

Index 449 


Sir John T. Gilbert Frontispiece 

Old House in Jervis Street, Dublin . To face page 4 

John T. Gilbert „ 96 

Villa Nova „ i6o 

Villa Nova, Garden View „ 358 

Book-Plates „ 368 





Family notes — Birth and boyhood— School days— Early devotion 
to chosen work. 

John T. Gilbert was the son of an English Protestant 
father and an Irish Catholic mother, who were married in 
Dublin in the year 1821. The father was of an old and 
honourable family of Devonshire, the same which gave to the 
world Sir Humphrey Gilbert ^ and Sir John Gilbert, and their 
step-brother, Sir Walter Raleigh, each of whom received 
knighthood for his services to Queen Elizabeth. The great- 
great-grandfather of John T. Gilbert was Edward Gilbert, of 
Ipplepen, whose son was Edward Gilbert, of Little Hemp- 
stone, who died in the year 1797. Old Compton castle, 
at one time the home of the Gilbert family, stands near 
the hamlet of Lower Marldon by the sea ; and the tombs of 
the Gilberts are in Marldon church. The half-ruined castle 
is guarded by tall elms and firs, and surrounding it is an 
old-world garden, still kept trim, and full of brilliant colour. 
In a paper read before the British Archaeological Society 
in 1861, Compton is described as "an old fortified manor, 
rather than a regular fortress." In the reign of Henry II. 

^ See Appendix. 

I B 



it was the property and seat of Sir Maurice de Pole, after 
which the Lady Alice de Pole gave it to Peter, surnamed 
Compton. Having belonged to the Comptons during seven 
generations, the castle and estates were conveyed by one 
of two co-heiresses to the Gilberts, who retained them in 
possession till the latter portion of the eighteenth century. 

Henry Gilbert, a younger son of Edward Gilbert, of Little 
Hempstone, owner of orchards in Devonshire, established a 
shipping trade between Devonshire and Ireland, importing 
Gilbert's Cider " into Dublin, Waterford, and other Irish 
ports. With him in partnership was a kinsman named 
Sanders, and the firm was known as that of Gilbert and 
Sanders. Their Irish business having brought Henry to 
Dublin, John Gilbert, son of Henry, father of the subject of 
the present memoir, was born in that city in the year 1791, 
and was educated at the celebrated academy of Samuel 
Whyte, in Grafton Street, of whose career a long and interest- 
ing account is to be found in Gilbert's " History of Dublin." 

The poet Moore, who was also a pupil of Whyte, has 
written — 

As soon as I was old enough to encounter the crowd of a 
large school, it was determined that I should go to the best 
in Dublin, the grammar-school of the well-known Samuel 
Whyte, whom a reputation of more than thirty years' standing 
had placed at that time at the head of his profession." 

Whyte was a dramatist as well as a schoolmaster. " His 
school," says the author of the " History of Dublin," ^ " was 
opened at No. 75, Grafton Street,^ in 1758," by the advice of 
his friend and relative Thomas Sheridan, who desired to see 
established *'a school chiefly for the instruction of youth in 
the English language, the cultivation of which had been 
strenuously advocated by Sheridan in his lectures on oratory." ^ 
Among his first pupils were Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and 
Alicia, the children of his relative, Frances Sheridan, the 
friend and parent of his youth." 

^ " History of Dublin," vol. iii. p. 200. 

^ In 1859 the house was numbered 79. The schoolrooms were in Johnston's 
Court, Dublin. « See Appendix. 



To this school of Samuel Whyte went John Gilbert, son 
of the Englishman, Henry ; and a portrait of his brilliant 
master still hangs on the walls of Villa Nova^ (his son's 
home), on the back of which is pasted a certificate of merit, 
signed by Samuel Whyte, stating that during a General 
Public Examination at the English and Classical Academy 
of Samuel and Edward A. Whyte, held on the 21st, 22nd, 
and 23rd of December, 1807, "Master John Gilbert, having 
acquitted himself in a very distinguished manner, is 
honoured with this premium, ist class." 

John Gilbert grew up to carry on his father's English 
and foreign business in importation of wines from Lisbon, 
Bordeaux, and Malaga — a large trade, in which the Gilberts 
were associated with several important London firms.^ In 
1 82 1 he married Marianne, second daughter of Philip Costello,^ 
who was owner of considerable house property in Dublin, and 
who had also, through his marriage in 1791 with Eleanor 
Griffin, claim to certain lands in Meath. Philip Costello had 
also been, from the middle of the eighteenth century, owner 
of a large coach factory, which covered a tract of ground 
lying between Jervis Street and Denmark Street, and traces 
of which are still in existence. Philip Costello's other 
children were John Costello, of Cloncoan and Brannickstown 
in Meath ; Philip Costello, for some years a prominent 
solicitor, residing in Dominick Street, Dublin ; Dr. Patrick 
Costello, who practised medicine in the city of Lisbon ; and 
Alicia, ten years older than her sister, who, in 1809, married 
Morres Baker, Esq., described in his wife's marriage settle- 
ment as "second son of the late James Baker, of Ballymoreen, 
Ballyerk, Cooleroe, and Ballymore, in the county of Tip- 

John Thomas Gilbert, the youngest of his father's five 
children, was born on January 23, 1829, in the house of 
his maternal grandfather. No. 23, Jervis (or Jervais) Street, 

* Oval engraving, lettered " Hamilton pinx : Brocas sculp." 
The office of the firm of Gilbert and Sanders was in Bachelor's Walk ; after- 
wards in Beresford Place, Dublin. 
^ See Appendix. 



in Dublin. In an old family deed the house is described 
as "the dwelling-house situate on the east side of Jervais 
Street, in the parish of Saint Mary, in the county of Dublin, 
known by the number of 23, late in the possession of Sir 
Jeremiah Fitzpatrick, Knight, mearing and bounding on the 
north with the dwelling-house of Sydenham Singleton, Esq., 
on the east by the garden of Mrs. Johnston, of Mary Street 
aforesaid." Its dimensions are described (in a deed of sale 
dated 1853, which disposed of it to Messrs. Todd, Burns & 
Co., into whose premises it was absorbed) as 70 feet 6 inches 
in frontage, and 140 feet in depth, including rear of offices 
and garden. 

Jervis Street was named from Sir Humphry Jervis, twice 
Lord Mayor of Dublin, who built Essex Bridge and Ormond 
Bridge, and gave its name to Ormond Quay. He was owner 
of much ground in that neighbourhood, and undertook the 
above works, it is stated, to improve his house property. His 
long struggle with the Corporation (1698), which denied his 
right to be reimbursed for his expenditure, is fully stated in 
the sixth volume of the " Calendar of the Ancient Records 
of Dublin," 1896. In the eighteenth century, when Philip 
Costello became owner of No. 23 and other houses in Jervis 
Street, it was a street of distinction, as the style of some 
of the older dwellings still attest, though the neighbourhood 
is now far gone in decadence ; like the adjoining Stafford 
Street, where (about the year 1730), in one of the fine old 
mansions still standing (number lost), the brilliant English- 
woman, Mrs. Delany, then Mrs. Pendarves, met Swift and 
other wits and savants at Dr. Delany's famous Thursday 

Although John Gilbert was an English Protestant, and 
Marianne Costello an Irish Catholic, yet the marriage was a 
very happy one, and such a state of things was more remark- 
able in the earlier part of the nineteenth century than it 
would be at the present time. 

In 1837 Macaulay wrote to his friend, Mrs. Drummond, 
in Ireland — 




" I cannot conceive what has induced you to submit to 
such an exile. The last residence which I would choose 
would be a place with all the plagues, and none of the 
attractions of a capital ; a provincial city on fire with 
factions political and religious, peopled by raving Orange- 
men and raving Repealers, and distracted by a contest 
between Protestantism as fanatical as that of Knox, and 
Catholicism as fanatical as that of Bonner." 

Good heart and good sense on both sides saved the 
Gilberts from religious dissension. Five children were born 
to them — Henry, Eleanor, Philippa, Mary, and John — and 
all were baptized and brought up in the Catholic faith. On 
the occasion of the baptism of John, his father desired that 
this child, the youngest, should be a Protestant ; but the 
mother held firm. "You think," urged the father, " that you 
are providing better things for him in a future existence ; 
but, believe me, you are doing your son a grievous wrong, 
where this world is concerned" — a prophetic statement which 
did not, however, daunt the resolute woman, and little John 
was made a Catholic, like his brothers and sisters. 

Their father dying in 1833, at the age of forty-two, the 
mother had complete control of the education of the children, 
who had, fortunately, not been old enough to realize any 
difference in the religious doctrines held by their parents, 
and who revered the memory of their father's great integrity 
of purpose and pious attitude towards Providence. Of these 
fine qualities John Gilbert the elder left a simple accidental 
record, when, at the opening of the year 1829, fourteen days 
before the birth of his son John, having reviewed his worldly 
affairs, he scribbled on the margin of the sheet of paper, 
which showed the goodly sum he found himself "worth, 
clear of the world, this day," the following little note : — 

" For which I am bound in gratitude to feel most thankful 
to that Divine Being who has been pleased to crown my 
exertions and prosper my undertakings. Dublin, January 9, 

There is also an evidence of his humane disposition in the 



circumstance which led to his accepting the Consulship of 
Portugal and Algarve. A Portuguese vessel having been 
wrecked on the Irish coast, he provided for the wants of the 
crew, and sent them back to their native country in a vessel 
of his own, upon which the Portuguese Government sent for 
his acceptance a table-service of Portuguese silver, with an 
offer of the Consulship. 

His will, made at his country house at Kimmage in 1833, 
bequeaths to his beloved wife, after payment of his just debts, 
all his property, consisting of cash, bills, merchandize, and 
debts due, his interest in the house, 23, Jervis Street, and all 
furniture and goods therein, and the schooner Czar, for herself, 
and for " educating and providing for our dear little children, 
which I am satisfied she will do to the best of her ability ; " 
after her decease the remaining property to be divided share 
and share alike among the children. She was sole executrix, 
and in case of her death, her brothers John and Philip Costello 
were to act as guardians of the children. Both these brothers 
were dead, however, when, in August, 1841, Mrs. Gilbert 
wrote on a leaf of the Bible, in which her husband had re- 
corded their marriage and the births of their children, " John 
Gilbert, my dearly beloved and ever-to-be-regretted husband, 
died 3 August, 1833, leaving me with five helpless children, 
the eldest not eleven years old. It has pleased the Will of 
Divine Providence to spare me over them, and to enable me 
to educate them so far." After this comes a list of the 
deaths of relatives, friends, and servants, showing the tender 
regard in which she held all who in any way belonged to her. 

Mrs. Gilbert was at the time of her husband's death thirty- 
six years of age, handsome and accomplished, accustomed 
to lean on and look up to a devoted husband, and to enjoy 
with him the pleasures and luxuries of life. Of a very gentle 
disposition, her strong character developed in proportion as 
necessity required her to act independently and with courage. 
Resolved to preserve for her sons the old-established and 
lucrative trade of their father and grandfather, she employed 
a manager to carry on affairs, and exercised her own fine 



intelligence in overseeing and checking important business 
transactions and negotiations. The house at Kimmage was 
prudently given up, and the country outlet for the family 
was Brannickstown, while the town residence of Mrs. Gilbert 
and her children was with her mother, Mrs. Eleanor Costello, 
in the old house in Jervis Street, her father, Philip Costello, 
having died in 1808. The widow's chief care was the edu- 
cation of her children. Henry, the eldest, was sent to school ; 
the little girls had the advantage of a competent governess 
under their mother's supervision ; John, the youngest, was 
then only four years old, the pet of the gentle old grand- 
mother, who, as he recalled in his latest years, would quell 
his occasional turbulence with a sweetly spoken " Softly, child, 
softly ! " Interesting notes of these early days remain among 
the private papers of the family, who destroyed few writings, 
and preserved many kinds of relics from both sides of the 
house, English and Irish ; genealogical records, marriage 
settlements, wills, old leases, deeds relating to property, 
judgments in chancery ; private diaries and letters, from which 
romances might be written. In the same manner the Gilberts 
treasured and revered their old portraits, old furniture, silver 
and china, some of which had come from Devonshire in the 
latter part of the eighteenth century, curious trinkets and 
family watches, not less than two or three hundred years 
in existence. 

In the first years of Mrs. Gilbert's widowhood her three 
brothers were all living. John Costello, the eldest and best 
beloved of the three, was in possession of Brannickstown and 
Cloncoan, which he had inherited from his uncle, Daniel 
Griffin ; and the Gilbert children, who were all of delicate 
constitution, enjoyed happy holidays in his home. In July, 
1836, he writes to his sister — 

"Philippa is well, thank God, and on the most happy 
terms with us all. The improvement in her health, which I 
flattered myself a few weeks' residence here would produce, 
does not yet appear to have taken place. Although she is 
not, to use a vulgar phrase, * getting fat/ she does not in the 



mean time betray any symptoms of illness. As lively as 
a bee, she never appears happy except when in the company 
of her little cousins, or her aunt, on whom she bestows many 
fond caresses. I cannot induce her to write, but she desires 
me to present you, her grandmama, and the family with her 
most affectionate remembrances." 

The bracing atmosphere of the fields and woods of Meath 
was good for the children. In one of Mary Gilbert's Italian 
school-books there runs a little note in a childish scrawl, 
"Here we are, just arrived from Brannickstown, all feeling 
very good, having done the Jubilee ! " A relative of their 
grandmother, Father Murray, was parish priest of Trim, one 
of the priests of the old school, who, under ban at home, 
obtained their ecclesiastical education in France or Spain. 
Father Murray was the owner of a choice library, and from 
this good and learned man, and among his books, the little 
John Gilbert developed very early his passion for historical 
lore. A further personal link with Catholic foreign lands 
was Dr. Patrick Costello, another brother of Mrs. Gilbert, 
who was then practising medicine in Lisbon, and writing 
interesting letters to his mother at home. 

In the year 1838 the beloved uncle, John Costello, died, 
and to Mrs. Gilbert's anxieties was added the guardianship of 
his orphan children, who had also lost their mother. Large- 
hearted and strong of mind, she was equal to all tasks laid 
upon her. One of her nieces writes, "She was, indeed, a 
mother to us, and made no difference between us and her 
own children." Into her home were also received l\er 
widowed sister and her sister's daughter, Morres Baker 
having died, and his affairs having got into chancery, with 
disastrous results. The care of the property at Brannicks- 
town devolved on her, and the steward's book still shows 
with what pains she fulfilled this — like every other trust. 

Meanwhile little John's education was progressing. In 
1836 (being seven years old) he distinguished himself at 
St. Vincent's Seminary,^ Usher's Quay, " particularly in 

* About this time removed to Castleknock, co, Dublin, for the inauguration 
of the present well-known college of that name. 



history." From this period dates a literary composition 
preserved by a fond mother, addressed to Mr. Ricard, one 
of his masters, indorsed by him " extremely well," and re- 
markable chiefly for the signature, already characteristic. A 
little later he was a pupil of Bective College, and at twelve 
years old was sent to Prior Park College, near Bath, at that 
time a first-class school, one of the best for Catholic youth in 
England and Ireland. In the lists of the classes in the early 
forties are found the names of Edward and Oswald Petre, 
Hugh O'Conor, Sir James Fitzgerald, with Chichesters, 
Butlers, De Blaquieres, O'Connells, and many other English 
and Irish names representative of the old faith in these 

From Prior Park College was' written an early letter, 
treasured among a mother's papers — 

"Prior Park, May 24, 1842. 

" My dear Mamma, 

** Gilbert Sanders came to see me on the 23rd, 
and took me to Bath, where he showed me great kindness, 
and got me everything that I want, except what was im- 
possible. I think the best way for you is to write to Mr. 
Illingworth, and he will get me all. I think you ought to 
take me home in the vacation, because you promised it 
solemnly. The chief excuse you have is because you say 
it will distract my mind from study. Now, I will promise 
if you take me home I will study as hard as will lie in 
my power : but, if you do not, it will be quite impossible for 
me to study hard, as I will be quite dispirited. 

"Again, you say I will have much more pleasure here 
than in Dublin. Now this is quite the contrary, for our only 
pleasure is to walk about the bounds and go bathing in a 
river where there is a dreadful steep hill, so that we are twice 
as warm after bathing as before. . . . For the whole year 
past the chief object of my studies was to please you, that 
you might be glad to fulfil your promise ; but since I heard 
you hinting about not taking me home I am quite dispirited. 


and cannot attend to my studies with half that ardour and 
pleasure which I used to do when I expected you to fulfil 
your promise. . . . Give my love to all at home, not for- 
getting Nurse. How is Farrell Fagan ? Tell Mary and 
Henry I expect that they will write to me. I am very much 
obliged for the nice box you sent me. I hope you will 
excuse the blots on the paper, but I cannot restrain my tears 
at your breaking your promise, and, of course, if you dis- 
appoint me, I must also disappoint you. 

I remain, your affectionate son, 

"John Thomas Gilbert. 

" N.B. — Write by return of post." 

Every schoolboy will hope that the mother did not dis- 
appoint him on this occasion ; at all events, it is quite certain 
that he never disappointed her. The blots on the letter are 
genuine tear-blots, which have almost washed away some of 
the words. 

The Rev. Mr. Illingworth, head of the college, replies to a 
letter from his mother — 

" The flattering account which you have on another sheet 
I trust will repay you for the extreme anxiety which you 
testify towards your son. That he will be a talented and 
clever youth is beyond a doubt, and his character and good 
qualities will be equal to his abilities." 

During his school-days he developed that vigorous will 
and the passion which must be ingrained in every strong 
character, for in the same letter his master asks his mother 
to write him affectionate advice as to the curbing of his 
temper. The lesson of control was well learned, for it was 
said of Gilbert that few men are able to reserve such depth 
of feeling under manners so gentle and courteous as were 

The anxious mother had the pleasure of knowing that her 
boy was always head of his class, and examination papers 
recording his various distinctions, as well as the silver medal 
of the college, are all among the family treasures. The lad 



of thirteen had the schoolboy's trick of scribbling in his 
books, and his copy of the " Anabasis " of Xenophon is marked 
with many such notes. On the first page it informs all whom 
it may concern that " John Gilbert went to Prior Park in 
1 841," and on the last is inscribed a list of the twelve members 
of his class, in order of class, John Gilbert being at the head ; 
also the names of his several masters in Latin and Greek, 
French, Italian, German, History, and Arithmetic. 

Order of Class. 

John Gilbert. 
Alex Morphy. 
John Pitchford. 
Austin Latham. 
Charles Kennedy. 
Richard Guibara. 

John Kennedy. 
Leopold Guibara. 
James Costello. 
John Costello. 
D. Murphy. 
F. Blake. 

Masters : Latin and Greek, C. Parfitt ; Italian, Rev. Mr. 
Sheehy ; French, M. Cauche ; German, M. Fander ; Arith- 
metic and History, L. Sheppard. 

On another leaf it is stated that J. Gilbert began the 
"Anabasis" of Xenophon on September 12, 1842, at 
Prior Park, Bath ; and on each of five different pages a 
warning to imaginary thieves is given in five different 
languages — Latin, Greek, Italian, French, and English, the 
last version of the usual schoolboy's legend running as 
follows : — 

** Steal not this book for fear of shame, 
For here you see the owner's name. 

"J. Gilbert." 

The happy holidays were spent at Brannickstown, a place 
which was a source of infinite delight to the young Gilberts, 
and always remained in their memory, linked with the most 
tender and romantic associations. Here it was that John 
acquired his intense love of nature, and sym.pathy with all 
living creatures — birds, squirrels, and other shy wild tenants 
of trees, and holes, and hedges, vvdio were never afraid to 



approach him ; also of flowers and running water, and every 
lovely growing thing. The holidays were passed by him in 
roaming over the country, or sitting in a quiet library nook 
studying his favourite subjects, and already laying up his- 
toric and antiquarian lore. He was also zealously at work 
in acquiring that skill in palaeography which so early in life 
placed a power in his hands. A manuscript book is found 
among some of his schoolboy papers which contains a curious 
collection of extracts from old chronicles, copied exactly in 
the writing of the chronicler ; also passages from various 
ancient authors, statements of facts, records of remarkable 
events, historical and biographical data, all inscribed in 
different styles of ancient calligraphy. In the matter of the 
contents of this whimsical-seeming book, with its deep 
underlying purpose, it is evident that the passion for his- 
torical research had already mastered the boy of fourteen 
years. The date on the book is 1843 ; the following lines of 
Southey, in his handwriting, are inscribed on the first page : — 

" My days among the dead are passed : 

Around me I behold, 
Where'er these casual eyes are cast, 

The mighty men of old. 
My never-failing friends are they, 
With whom I converse night and day." 

To the last he looked back with affection on the fields and 
woods of Meath, away beyond the old storied town of Trim. 
A curious incident connected with them in his memory was 
narrated by him late in life to one in whom he wholly con- 
fided, an experience unlike anything that might have been 
expected of a lad whose dreams were all of revealing truth 
by documentary evidence, rather than of visionary mani- 
festations of the unknowable. Yet he told the story in 
a simple and vivid manner, which left no doubt of the 
impression made on a mind which preserved it unaltered for 
more than fifty years. 

On one of those happy holidays, as a youth of sixteen, 
carrying a gun, he had passed through a little wood which 
opened abruptly on a wide stretch of fields, and was divided 



and screened from them by a bank and bushes. About to 
spring through a gap in the bushy bank, he started back as 
an amazing figure passed before him, beyond the gap, travers- 
ing the field-path, on its other side, yet close to him. He 
described this as the most beautiful being imaginable, noble in 
face, form, and bearing, clad in brilliant diaphanous garments. 
The figure having passed, he sprang through the opening, 
eager to see it again, but nothing was visible except the 
lonely field-path stretching far away on either side of him in 
the sunshine of a midsummer's morning. He at once set to 
work to search in all directions, but no one in the neighbour- 
hood had seen or heard anything of such a surprising wayfarer. 
When questioned again and again after long years of struggling 
with " the document " and sifting written evidence, the man 
adhered to his testimony of what the boy's eyes had seen. 
He did not undertake to say of what nature was the extra- 
ordinary being who had brushed him with shining garments, 
and had filled his eyes with more than earthly beauty. He 
gave his experience for what it might be worth. So many tales 
are told of uncanny apparitions seen in darkness and hinting 
of doom or penal durance, that it is good to hear of one which 
suggests the probability of celestial visitors walking in our 
midst in the noonday sunshine. 

At this time the young Gilberts were an interesting group, 
of refined and sensitive natures, and with many personal 
attractions. The girls had an educated taste in literature, 
were acquainted with modern languages, accomplished in 
all the dainty arts of their day, and were, besides, notable 
housekeepers. Marvellous needlework of the grandmother 
and mother, and the great old embroidery frame still standing 
on its legs, remain to tell of patient feminine industry, and 
the result of their pains is to be seen in garlands of flowers 
and ingenious figure-pieces stitched in wool or silk on lengthy 
old velvet-covered sofas, curiously contrived screens, and on 
old-fashioned chairs, stools, and prie-dieux. 

Mr. John MacCarthy, eldest son of the poet, Denis 
Florence MacCarthy, writes— 


"I well remember the occasion on which, when very 
young, I first saw Mrs. Gilbert, and the favourable impression 
she made on me. Both in manner and goodness of heart her 
daughters resembled her. Eleanor was a lifelong invalid, 
nursed with the greatest devotion by her sisters. Of the other 
two Philippa was much the more delicate, and therefore the 
management of the house and the correspondence chiefly 
devolved on her sister Mary. Both were amiable and accom- 
plished, and Mary had the brightest and sunniest of tempera- 
ments, ever on the watch to do a kindness, and to cheer 
any one whom she thought lonely or neglected." 

The influence of the women of his family on Gilbert's 
character and life was strong and felicitous. In those days 
men had sisters indeed, and home was a sanctuary. One 
may ask whether the lady doctor or even the sweet girl 
graduate of this moment exercises over the man who has 
grown with her at the same mother's knee, as potent and 
benignant a charm as that which brightened John Gilbert's 
years of struggle and extraordinary labour. 

The joyful sojourns at Brannickstown were brought to a 
tragic end by the burning to the ground of the beloved 
old homestead. Eleanor, Gilbert's eldest sister, and a 
venerable grand-aunt, Miss Griffin, were rescued with difficulty 
from the flames. The girl never recovered from the effects of 
the shock, and remained an invalid for life. The sad fate of 
this sister, some of whose poetic writings are preserved, was 
a lasting sorrow to her brother, as to the rest of the family. 
The tragedy seems to draw a line between his very early 
youth and the years of his life's work, a work to which, at the 
age of seventeen, he had already buckled himself. By the fire 
at Brannickstown many valued possessions were destroyed, 
and the ruin of the house being complete, the once-loved 
neighbourhood was shunned by the Gilberts, and the property 
was sold. About the same time Mrs. Gilbert removed to 
Villa Nova, near Blackrock, in the county of Dublin, an 
old-fashioned dwelling in its own enclosure of great old trees, 
lawn, meadow, and stream, and to this sweet and peaceful 



retreat the youth, who was even then a collector of rare 
books relating to history, chiefly in connection with Ireland, 
brought his library, and here among the song-birds in 
which he delighted, and in friendship with the squirrels 
that haunted the ancient walnut trees near his windows, he 
set up his desk ; at which he was to labour in this spot for a 
period of fifty years. 



Choice of a career — Early book-collecting — Secretary to the Celtic 
Society — Letters. 

On leaving Prior Park College, Gilbert would have entered 
the University of Dublin had not insurmountable barriers 
been in the way. At that period Irish Catholic parents, 
jealous guardians of the dearly bought and hardly preserved 
faith of their children, cherished even more than the present 
dread of the spirit of Trinity College, and Mrs. Gilbert, who 
had resisted the desire of her husband to give the boy to 
the Church approved by law and smiled on by fortune, was 
now quite as resolved to prevent his taking a step which, in 
her opinion, would have been spiritually disastrous. Her 
son complied with her wishes, pursuing his chosen studies 
outside the walls of the University, and in like manner 
he restrained his desire to give himself solely to ideal aims, 
again yielding to the mother who had destined him to assist 
his brother in the management of their late father's business ; 
with the result that, as a youth of seventeen, he was already 
putting forth all his extraordinary energies and exercising his 
characteristic resolution in carrying on two completely dif- 
ferent kinds of work, occupying certain hours in his brother's 
office in correspondence with Dorr of Malaga, Violett of 
Bordeaux, Yglesias in London, and other firms, while all the 
rest of his time was devoted to reading and historical research. 

In December, 1848, Mr. William Joseph Kane wrote to 
his brother Henry — 

" I went to the Library of the Dublin Society and entered 




your brother's name. He has nothing to do but go there 
to-morrow, or any other day, and introduce himself to Mr. 
Paton, the Librarian, after which he can go when it will suit 
his convenience." 

About the same time he made the acquaintance, in another 
library, of Denis Florence MacCarthy, who was about twelve 
years older than Gilbert, and was already publishing poetry 
while the latter was at school. 

Mr. John MacCarthy, himself a man of much learning, 
writes — 

"A favourite haunt of both Mr. Gilbert and my father 
in the early days of their acquaintance was Archbishop 
Marsh's library, where, amid its many quaint and curious 
volumes, the future historian of Dublin and of the Viceroys 
acquired those tastes and laid the foundation of that eru- 
dition of which he afterwards made such noble use." 

The taste, however, or the genius, had been born with 
Gilbert, for he has himself told how, as a small schoolboy, 
on his way to school, he would pause, studying the faces of 
the houses and streets, and asking himself who had built 
them, and what kind of life went on behind their walls in 
olden times ? "I wanted," he said, " to know something of 
the city I lived in." Even before he had left college he 
had begun his researches on that keenly interesting subject, 
entering his notes in his exquisitely neat note-books. At 
this time he had already made a catalogue in his own writing 
of his very considerable private library, in itself an interesting 
document. A correspondent (John Savage) writing from 
Lisbon in 1848, informs him, " * Historiae Catholicae Iberniae 
Compendium A.D. Philippo O'SuUevano Bearro:' this is the 
only work on the list that can be obtained. I know of the 
existence of but one copy in Lisbon, and that is in the hands 
of a private individual, who will not sell it for less than a 
moidore." The moidore was found by the youth, for Gilbert 
offered this copy of the book to the Rev. Dr. Matthew Kelly, 
to be sacrificed for the production of a new edition, an offer 
which was, however, generously refused. 




The following letter from the same correspondent in 
Portugal, at a time when Ireland was in the throes of famine, 
shows that Gilbert, with all his enthusiasm for the past, was 
keenly alive to the suffering humanity around him, and is 
also suggestive of the interest felt in affairs at home by the 
Irish abroad : — 

" Lisbon, March 20, 1848. 

" My dear Sir, 

" I was about to answer your very kind note of 
the 25th ult. when yours of the 1 5th inst. was handed to me. 
I have received the two Dublin papers. We receive regularly 
the Nation^ and occasionally other Irish papers, and I have 
a joint subscription twixt two friends to a London paper, so 
that I am regularly supplied with both English and Irish 
news. At the same time I cannot avoid returning you thanks 
for your kind offer to send me any Dublin papers that I 
should wish for. The state of our poor country at the 
present moment is most lamentable, and your city must have 
been in a most excited state previous to the 17th inst. I am 
aware that the intended meeting had been postponed, and 
perhaps thereby disturbances were obviated. May God save 
our country from civil war. I have witnessed enough of its 
results in this country without any amelioration or prospect 
thereof for Portugal, and I hope that the British Parliament 
will see the necessity of doing something substantial for 
Ireland and her starving people. 

" I shall be most happy to obtain for you any other of the 
books contained in the list, if I should find them, and you 
may rest assured that I shall not neglect your commission 
on that head. As to the manuscripts of Philip O'Sullivan, 
there is not a vestige of any in Lisbon, nor is there any 
portrait, as far as I have been able to learn, nor is anything 
known of his descendants, if any existed in this country. If 
I should hear anything interesting on these points, I shall 
feel great pleasure in communicating it to you, and remain, 
with great thanks, 

" Yours faithfully, 

" John Savage." 



In the same year (1848), when only nineteen, he was 
already a member of the Council of the Celtic Society, which 
was afterwards amalgamated with another association under 
the name of the Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society— a 
pioneer band of earnest and disinterested men, who did the 
big work which has provided valuable materials for the Irish 
literary revivalists of to-day. 

The following is the list of the officers of the Celtic 
Society for the year 1848 : — 


The Very Rev. Laurence F. O'Renehan, D.D., President, Royal 
College of St. Patrick, Maynooth. 


The Very Rev. Richard Butler, 
D.D., Dean of Clonmacnoise. 

Isaac Butt, Esq., LL.D. 

The Very Rev. Edward Gustavus 
Hudson, Dean of Armagh. 

The Very Rev. Walter Meyler, 

Sir Robert Kane, M.R.I.A.,Presi- 
dent, Queen's College, Cork. 

Wm. Monsell, Esq., M.P., 

William Smith O'Brien, Esq., 
M.P., M.R.I.A. 
i Sir Colman O'Loghlen, Bart. 


Henry Hudson, Esq., M.D., M.R.I.A. 
Thomas Hutton, Esq., M.R.I.A. 
Walter Sweetman, Esq., M.R.I.A. 

John Edward Pigot,^ Esq. 


Samuel H. Bindon, Esq. 
Patrick Robert Webb, Esq. 

^ Son of Chief Baron Pigot ; barrister-at-law, an ardent sympathizer with the 
Irish political movement of 1848, and until the end of his life devoted to the 
advancement of literature and general culture in Ireland. 




The Rev. George Crolly, D.D., Professor, Royal College of St. 

Patrick, Maynooth. 
Charles Gavan Duffy, Esq. 
Samuel Ferguson, Esq., M.R.I. A. 
Patrick Vincent Fitzpatrick, Esq. 
John T. Gilbert, Esq. 

The Rev. Charles Graves, A.M., Professor, and F.T.C.D., M.R.I.A. 

The Rev. James Graves, Kilkenny. 

James Hardiman, Esq., M.R.I.A. 

William Elliott Hudson, Esq., A.M., M.R.I.A. 

The Rev. Matthew Kelly, Professor, Royal College of St. Patrick, 

Michael Felix MacCarthy, Esq. 
Charles P. MacDonnell, Esq., M.R.I.A. 
John Mitchel, Esq. 

The Very Rev. Edward Nowlan, V.G. Ossory, P.P. Gowran. 

Isaac Stoney^O'Callaghan, Esq. 

Thomas O'Hagan, Esq. 

The Rev. William Reeves, M.B. 

The Rev. Charles W. Russell, D.D., Professor, Royal College of St. 

Patrick, Maynooth. 
John George Smyly, Esq. 
Edward King Tenison, Esq., M.P., M.R.I.A. 
Robert James Tennant, Esq., M.P. 
Robert Tighe, Esq., M.R.I.A. 
William R. Wilde, Esq., M.R.I.A. 

Assistant Secretary. 
Mr. John Daly. 

In 1849 Gilbert succeeded S. H. Bindon as secretary 
to the Celtic Society, in conjunction with P. R. Webb. On 
the paper, signed "John Edward Pigot, Treasurer," which 
gives a receipt for Gilbert's subscription as a life member 
[;£'io], a few words of information are printed : — 

" The main object of this (Celtic) Society is to publish 
original documents illustrative of the history, literature, and 
antiquities of Ireland, edited with introductory essays, Eng- 
lish translations, and notes." 


Much correspondence remains to show the energetic and 
disinterested spirit, as well as the anxieties and difficulties, of 
the men who had most at heart the welfare of the society. 

From Rev, Dr, Matthew Kelly, 

"Maynooth College, April 6, 1849. 

My dear Sir, 

"Your kind and liberal subscription to Stephen 
White ^ is a good omen. With a little prudence and perse- 
verance, the materials for Irish history may soon become 

" I was anxious to speak to you on some plan of organizing 
our society, that is, for getting in subscriptions ; mere circulars 
will not do, I fear. The times are so bad that some gentle 
pressure is required. What if some person volunteered, or 
were appointed to try his chance, first in the Dublin Corpora- 
tion ? He could say we have the four archbishops and many 
of the bishops, and we have a council such as I verily 
believe never before existed for any Irish project. Come, 
then, give us your help ! If we succeeded in Dublin, the 
argument becomes stronger for Cork, where I could command 
the services of two or three devoted friends, and also 
Belfast. I should then appoint a trusty agent in London to 
apply to the Irish members of Parliament, so as to have 
an imposing list of subscribers to be published with the next 
volume. A great effort might be made to clear off the 
expenses of the society, and buy our printing and paper 
at first cost. I think it is bad economy not to send copies to 
be reviewed by the press." 

From the Same, 

"College, Maynooth, February 7, 1850. 
" I thank you for your suggestion about the Latin series. 
Lombard makes only 170 pages of the Apologia, the other 120 
will consist of manuscripts. Lombard was first in the field, as 

* '* Apologia pro Hibernia," Dublin, 1849. 



he wrote in 1601, and, meagre though he be, he gives many 
facts not found elsewhere. Now, may I request that if you 
know any short pieces on the reigns of Elizabeth and James 
in the Dublin Society, or elsewhere, you will be good enough 
to inform me. Where, in what office, in whose custody, are 
the records of the Star Chamber preserved, and how shall 
they be procured? They contain an odd history of Irish 
corporations during at least twenty-two years. Be it known 
to any person who aids me that I publish, without note or 
comment, nothing but material, a task which would have 
been now done, if I had not the misfortune of dabbling with a 
Celtic Society.'* 

A few days later the same correspondent writes — 
"The 'immediate publication of O'Sullivan with transla- 
tions, etc.,' is probably the old story of more than four years' 
standing. An edition of both text and translation will hardly 
pay for some years to come, though an edition of either, 
separately, certainly would, in some hands. I do not intend 
to commence the edition of the text before September, 
probably. As I have no copy but that in our library, I must 
get it copied, if I cannot find a cheap copy in some book- 
seller's hands. Perhaps you know how a copy can be got } 
Some warm friends of the series earnestly recommend 
O'Sullivan as the next book. Indeed, if I had a copy, I 
think I would put it in the printer's hands in the middle 
of next week." 

The book alluded to was published in the year 1850. 

From Rev. Dr. O' Renehan. 

" College, Maynooth, January 7, 1850. 
" It was not the snow alone that prevented me from 
seeing you on Saturday last. I was attending to the grave 
the remains of a priest, my intimate friend for twenty-five 
years. I could have wished to be present at the announce- 
ment of Mr. Hudson's generosity. I also wished to see you. 



and to ask you, as I now do, to come here by the 1 1 o'clock 
train, and dine with me at 4 o'clock, on next Wednesday. 

" Our general examinations of the students are proceed- 
ing, and, much as I wish to speak to you about the Celtic 
Society, these leave me at this moment scarcely time enough 
to ask the favour of an answer." 

From the Same. 

"Maynooth, February 7, 1850. 
"Before our next meeting Mr. Daly, I think, ought to 
have final answers with regard to the Dublin arrears. Pro- 
posals for binding, specimens of Goodwin's Irish and English 
types for our particular work, his proposed charge for cor- 
rections and alterations, and for notes, if they should exceed 
the proportions of the 'Book of Rights,' should all be laid 
on the table as soon as the chair is taken, together with a 
draft of resolution embodying all the particulars and specifica- 
tions of Goodwin's proposal in all its parts. This will help 
to expedition, and guard against apprehensions which our 
past history might perhaps suggest to some of the members. 
The manuscript of our next volume, the Irish and the English, 
and notes, and all the parts thereof, if at all possible, should 
be laid on the table, together with the printer's estimate of 
the number of sheets which each part of it will require, and 
as close a statement as can be of the amount of alterations 
which may be introduced. If Mr. O'Donovan would con- 
sent to make this statement to the Council verbally, or in 
writing, it would, I doubt not, afford them peculiar satisfac- 
tion, more especially as some of them may, perhaps, be as 
little acquainted as myself with the general tenor of the 
manuscript, or of what editorial labour Dockwra may require, 
or what other miscellaneous letters or papers are about to be 

" You lately cheered my hopes about our future success 
by telling me that our past liabilities would be effaced on the 
security of our stock. But I have not since heard a word 



about it. If ever done, it should be done at once, before our 
next volume will be, necessarily, so curtailed as not to give 
satisfaction. I even regret part of our work last Tuesday, 
because I fear it will result in determining some members 
against publishing at all." 

The following letters to Gilbert from two zealous workers 
of the Celtic Society are interesting as reflecting some of the 
feeling of Irishmen at a gloomy moment of their country's 
history : — 

From S. H. Bindon, 

"3, Queen Street, Limerick, August 20, 1848. 

" I am very much obliged by your sending me the papers. 
Indeed, you judged right when you supposed me full of deep 
anxiety about the poor fellows who are now being martyred 
by their zeal for Ireland. I hope they may escape with some 
measure of safety from the deep treachery under which they 
have suffered. Webb and I have spent this day doing 
the Old Mortality among the tombs of Limerick. I myself 
have been very busy with some literary projects, but though 
I go on working, yet my heart is faint ; you will say no 

" I see all Duffy's things advertised. I suppose * O'Donovan's 
Annals * will be sold cheaply. Will you oblige me by extract- 
ing the note upon * Porteroise,' 1506, A.D. — I mean about 
building O'Brien's Bridge — and send it to me ? I merely want 
the entry about the Bridge, and the note upon the same. 
I want it in reference to a suit in which I am one of the 

" I am accumulating facts as rapidly as I can. I am 
trying to do something with this town. I send you some 
of my labours as an organizer. Remember me to Daly. 
I bought a Spanish grammar." 



From the Same. 

" I regard your discovery of Preston's portrait as a very 
precious find. I searched far and near for something pic- 
torial about him, as I was the first to call attention to the 
Siege of Louvain, of which he was the hero. I think, if we 
can get over the winter, we shall be able to get on with the 
Celtic Society, but we have no business * questing ' among 
the members who have paid until we have a book to hand 
them again ; we must only make a sort of calendar of our 
own, and occasionally knock two years into one. 

" I hope the times will speedily mend, for they can't be 
worse ; every landlord in the county of Clare insolvent except 
four. We are paying from 12s. to 17^". Zd. in the pound, poor- 
rate. The * pisantry ' have now the fee-simple of Ireland, 
and, as usual, a fine * loyal national ' confiscation is pro- 

" I am very happy to see that Irish professors are attached 
to the Queen's Colleges. I never expected more than the 
revival of an Irish literary nationality, and I am persuaded, 
if the Nation men had stuck to that, that they would have 
effected positive and substantial good, and possibly would 
have made the country something like Scotland. If we all 
live and do well, I trust we shall see those colleges effect good 
for this country, although, I grant you, the patient is in 

"Will you tell Daly to let me know if he can get a 
second-hand MacCullagh's *Use and Study of History,' and 
if so, send it to me, per railroad, on Saturday, as I want it for 
public Celtic purposes on Tuesday night. The second edition 
is what I wish for. Of course I will send him the price the 
moment I hear from him, as I know the poor man can't 
advance — who can, nowadays } 

" I owe Webb a letter, but I have been so busy. I hope 
you will write again and let me know some bibliographical 



From the Same. 

" Your letter has just come to hand. I don't care now 
about MacCullagh. I got Dr. Wiseman's Lectures, and 
they answered my purpose better. 

" Will you put me in the way of getting a copy of this 
catalogue, by sale or otherwise } I want not alone to read, 
but to spell it. I think some of what you speak about very 
valuable ; for instance, Lynch's * Alithinologia.' It could not 
be edited in Ireland hitherto, as no copy was here. I wish 
very much T.C.D. would buy it. It was generally thought 
unique, the only copy being in the Grenville Collection. 

" Then the ' Cavilli Speculum.' I think I know all about 
the author, but nothing of the book ; and you also mention 
some other books which I don't remember anything about. 

" There was a magnificent silver pin found near here. 
I purchased it, and transferred my purchase at par to the 
Museum for the Limerick Society, not being monied enough 
to hold anything in precious metal but coin-current. Clib- 
born wrote me a rubbing up for not sending it to the 
Academy, but I told him that the Limerick reliques should 
remain in Limerick while we have a museum, and if not, let 
them by all means go to the Academy. He disputes this 
position, but I still won't give up. Like a good fellow, try 
and make me out a copy of the catalogue, by sale or other- 
wise, and put it in the railroad parcel office for me. It will 
feed me for one month. I hope you will not lose sight of 
Preston's phiz." 

From P. Robert Webb, 

"At Bindon's, December 22, 1848. 
" I have just read your note to Bindon, in which you are 
good enough to remember me. I was thinking just before of 
writing you a few lines descriptive of my pursuits here, which 
have been such as you conjecture, and I have several times 
wished for your company, as I don't forget the effective aid 

p. R, WEBB 


you rendered me at St. Audoen's. We have been taking 
rubbings in the cathedral here, some of which I hope to show 
you, and among them one of the Galwey monument, older 
than, or as old, as that of Portlester. There are many shields, 
containing arms of much interest, scattered throughout the 
old building. The more I see, the more I am convinced 
there is much to be preserved in many localities that has 
never yet been closely enough examined. I fear, however, 
you are quite right about the prospects of our Irish literature 
for some time to come. I only wish we could predict the 
termination of this period of prostration, but there seems no 
reason to anticipate any brightening in our gloomy horizon, 
I fear much. I have been on a visit at poor O'Brien's place 
in this county, Cahirmoyle, last week. 'Twas a melancholy 
thing enough to see his books, his reading-room, etc., and 
reflect that the owner will never see them more." 



Trip to England — Work in the Celtic Society — Irish Quarterly Review — 
Royal Irish Academy — The Mystics — Irish music — Letters. 

In 1849 the young Irishman of twenty years went on a trip 
to England to see the country of his father's people, spending 
six weeks in Devonshire, paying a visit to Prior Park College, 
and going on to Oxford and London. Of this trip there 
remains an itinerary, kept in what some one described as his 
delicate Italian handwriting, headed " Ephemeris," of which 
the following is a resume : — 

Crossing from Dublin to Falmouth, " start in mail coach 
for Plymouth, pass through Bodmin and St. Anstell's, cross 
the water at Jerpoint, through Devonport ; arrive in Plymouth, 
call on Mrs. Molesworth on the Royal William Yard. By 
rail to Torquay. Paignton. Torre Abbey. 

" October 22. — To Torquay, and by rail to Exeter. Cathe- 
dral. Leave for Tiverton, where meet J. Ryan ; proceed 
together to Tiverton, St. John's, Mr. Fanning's, where sleep. 
Visit the town of Tiverton with Rev. J. Fanning. Visit the 
neighbourhood. To Exeter with Revs. J. Fanning and Power ; 
dine at Rev. Dr. Oliver's. Arrive at Taunton, visit the 
church ; start by coach for Beauminster ; visit Netherbury, 
Farnham, Daniel's, Knott. Explore surrounding country. 
Pilsden Hill. November. — Milplash ; Acborough at Surgeon 
Daniel's. Ride to Bridport, 6 miles. 

" November 5. — By coach to Taunton, by rail to Bath. 
The Abbey. To Prior Park ; see L. Guibara, J. Bonom^, J. 
Kavanagh, J. Illingworth. To Midford Castle with Rev. C. 




Parfitt, where dine with Mr. and Mrs. Conolly ; back to Bath 
at II o'clock p.m. 7th. — Visit Pump Room and Assembly 
Rooms ; leave at 1 1 ; by rail to Cheltenham. Visit Pettrille, 
Old Wells, Lord Northwick's Picture Gallery at Thurlestane 
House. Arrive at Oxford ; visit the College, Botanic 
Gardens, Ashmolean Museum, Dr. Buckland's Geological 
Collection in the Clarendon, Sheldonian Theatre, Bodleian 
Library, Examinations. Arrive in London. 

" November 10. — London. India House Museum, Post 
Office, Royal Exchange, Bank of England, Mansion House, 
St. Paul's, Temple, Trafalgar Square, St. James's Park, King's 
College, Somerset House, Downing Street, Hyde Park, 
Sadler's Wells. Sunday. — Moorfield's Chapel, High Mass. 
By rail to Hampton Court. 12th, Monday. — Tower, Thames 
Tunnel, Greenwich, Adelphi Theatre. 13th (wet). — Windsor 
Castle, Drury Lane Theatre, Madame Tussaud's Wax 
Works. 14th. — Fenchurch Street, W. Fox, Nicholas Lane, J. 
Scott, Lloyd's, National Gallery, Zoological Gardens, Regent's 
Park, Coliseum, Westminster Hall and Abbey, New and Old 
Houses of Commons, Haymarket Theatre, Phelps in * King 
Lear.' 15th. — Day of Public Thanksgiving, St. George's 
Cathedral ; Lambeth Palace, Chelsea Hospital, Westminster 
Abbey, St. Paul's. i6th.— London Docks and Vaults, Fen- 
church Street, Crypts of St. Paul's, British Museum, Poly- 
technic. 17th, Saturday.— Euston to Dublin." 

With this trip the following letters from Rev. C. Parfitt, 
his former master in Classics at Prior Park College, are 
connected : — 

" Midford Castle, 

" Festival of St. Augustine, 1849* 

" My dear Sir, 

" You must have thought me very ungrateful in 
having allowed your very kind letter to have remained so 
long unanswered, but the fact is that it reached me on Good 
Friday, and the week after we left here for Weston's, and have 
only just returned. I was anxious to thank you for your 


valued present, and the kind sentiments you express in my 
regard, but, having left your letter here, could not remember 
your address. The numbers of the Nation newspaper 
which you kindly sent me I should have acknowledged 
the receipt of but for the same reason. I had not your 
address, and could not get it till Hugh O' Conor sent it 
to me. 

"I have witnessed with much pleasure the efforts that 
are being made in Ireland to cultivate a national literature. 
They cannot but be productive of great good, as they must 
tend in a great degree to foster a national and independent 

" The Queen's visit to the Emerald Isle will, I trust, be 
beneficial, though you want from her Majesty something 
more than kind words. If she be a mortal, and I certainly 
am of opinion that kings and queens are nothing more, she 
could not but have been highly delighted with the warm- 
hearted reception she met with. It is my opinion that the 
Irish members do not sufficiently speak out in Parliament. 
There seems to be among them a timidity in combating the 
prejudices of men in power. What a crying sin it is that 
that overgrown, worthless Church Establishment should be 
allowed any longer to increase its obesity, whilst so many 
thousands are perishing from want. Why is not the old 
dame (or, as Waterton calls her, though, I think, rather 

coarsely, old Mother d nable), rickety as she is, helped on 

with a push "i 

"You doubtless have heard of the pecuniary difficulties 
into which Prior Park has fallen. It is still struggling on, and 
lately we have all been making a strenuous effort to ease 
some of the more pressing burdens. We want in England 
the Irish spirit for religion ; our thoughts appear to turn 
first on money, and the comforts that money brings. How 
noble the spirit displayed by the Irish Catholics in the sub- 
scription raised for the Pope ! I'm told His Holiness is a 
warm admirer of Dr. MacHale— how nobly kehsis stood out 
for the liberty of Irish education ! 



" I left Prior Park for my present situation in September, 
'46, at the time Dr. Ullathorne quitted the Western for the 
Central District. Should you be passing this way, I shall 
always be happy to see you, and, should fortune favour me, 
so far as to allow me to visit the sister isle, I shall not 
fail to give you a call. In the mean time, if you should meet 
any of my quondam college friends, pray present them my 
kind remembrances, and accept, my dear sir, the warm thanks 
and sincere regards of 

" Yours very faithfully in J.C., 

"C. Parfitt." 

After Gilbert's return from England, Father Parfitt wrote 
to him again — 

"Midford Castle, December i, 1849. 

"My dear Friend, 

" I should have acknowledged the receipt of your 
welcome little souvenir earlier, but was anxious to look it 
through before replying to your note. Accept my many 
thanks. It pleased me much, and reminded me constantly of 
the translations of the Oriental Society, some works of which 
Bishop Wiseman lent me some years ago. Those songs also 
are sufficient to show the wide difference in the characteristics 
of the English and Irish nations, and those who are labouring 
for a revival of the literature of their country are doing her 
a much greater service than such as are eternally at politics. 
You do not tell me what you thought of the Bodleian. I 
hope you were pleased. The next time you come this way 
I hope you will give us notice of your approach ; then wc 
shall be prepared to receive you, and you must not fly off so 
soon. The Conollys regretted your stay was so short, and 
Mrs. ConoUy was much pleased, and thought you an honour 
to Prior Park. But I must not flatter your vanity, if you 
have any. As to Chartism, it is an abomination, and, I regret 
to say, is making rapid strides in this unhappy country. The 
Rambler ^ in one of its late numbers, discloses scenes witnessed 
in London which are enough to make the hair stand on end. 



The priests here do not meddle in politics, and find enough 
to do in our endeavours to counteract the evil-doing under 
the garb of religion. There is something just now pending 
which may be of incalculable advantage to Prior Park. As 
soon as anything is decided I shall let you know. With 
regard to the Queen's Colleges, I am more adverse to them 
than ever from having seen the inaugural address of Sir 
Robert Kane. Education, according to my idea of the term, 
does not so much mean the mere exercise of the intellect, or 
filling it with knowledge, as a formation of character, by 
instilling fixed and sound principles to guide a man through 
life. Now, I cannot see how these can be inculcated, unless 
founded on precise and clear notions of religion. They 
may send out learned men, but will they make good men t 
Begging that you will not forget me in your prayers, I assure 
you that a letter from you will be always welcome 
" To your sincere and affectionate friend, 

"C. Parfitt." 

In 185 1 Gilbert became closely connected with the Irish 
Quarterly Review at its start, and in its pages had begun 
to publish articles on the " Celtic Literature of Ireland." He 
opened his article on the Celtic Records by the assertion 
that " the history of Great Britain must remain incomplete 
and defective until the ancient literary monuments of the 
kingdom of Ireland, which now forms an integral portion 
of the British Empire, have been fully investigated ; " and he 
complains of the misrepresentations of writers who have com- 
piled " Histories of Ireland," and, to conceal their ignorance, 
have declared that " no native materials were in existence." 
In connection with these articles, John Cornelius O'Callaghan, 
author of the " Green Book " and the " History of the Irish 
Brigades," wrote to him — 

" I think, in concluding, you might make a reflection 
which would be very suitable to the medium or respectable 
principles of the Review, to this effect : that you were thus 
particular in giving an account of the several valuable 



contributions to the history of this country which, through an 
expenditure of so much money, or between three and four 
thousand pounds, as well as so much labour and research, 
have been published since 1841, and yet, by neither of the 
two periodicals purporting to be connected with the nation in 
its opposite extremes of ultra-Protestant and ultra-Catholic, 
namely, the Dublin University Magazine and the Dnblin 
Review^ were thought worthy of that notice to which, if only 
as such creditable productions of the Dublin press, all were 
entitled ! If this silence proceeded from an incapacity to 
review publications on the history of the country, what is to 
be thought of the ability of such * best possible instructors ' 
in an ironical sense ? If it were owing to an indifference, 
or want of interest on the subject, what claim have such 
periodicals to put themselves forward as associated with 
Ireland more than with any other country? I only throw 
out this suggestion to you." 

O'Callaghan, noted for his whimsical similes and fierce 
invective against the " villains " who neglected their country 
and cherished " a flimsy cosmopolitanism that could write in 
Ireland de omnibus rebus et quibicsdam aliis, with the exception 
of Ireland," concludes his letter by advising the author of the 
Celtic articles to " terminate, like a bee or wasp, in some sort 
of sting ; " a counsel which Gilbert would laugh at for its 
humour, while pursuing his own method of advancing truth 
by calm determination of purpose. The articles were hailed 
with delight by the Irish learned societies. " The Irish 
Quarterly^' writes the Rev. James Graves, " seems to have set 
out with the determination to do justice to Irish historical 
literature. I have read the articles on the Celtic volumes. 
I shall look forward to the forthcoming article on the Archso- 
logical Society's books. I am glad you are going to eschew 
politics for the greater part." 

At this time, while yet only from twenty to twenty-three 
years of age, Gilbert occupied a remarkable position among 
his learned elders, who appealed to him for information on 
points of history or antiquarian matters. " Your extensive 




knowledge of Dublin men and things," writes Dean Graves,^ 
would, I dare say, enable you to answer the questions put 
in the accompanying letter. They puzzle me. Excuse my 
troubling you in this matter." 

"Are the lists of King James's army in D' Alton's 
book to be depended on?" asks Lord Dunraven, writing 
from Adare Manor. " I find in Lord Clare's regiment of 
horse my ancestor's name, Thady Quin ; but I have docu- 
ments, signed by judges and magistrates, all declaring him 
to be quiet and well-disposed, and stating distinctly that 
he did not serve in King James's army. He was under 
suspicion, hence the necessity of these documents of excul- 
pation, but he appears to have come out with flying colours." 

Holding this position, in January, 1852, Gilbert, Secretary 
to the Celtic Society, closely connected with the editorship 
of the Irish Quarterly Review^ author of the articles in that 
review on the Streets of Dublin, the Celtic Records, and 
Irish Historic Literature, which had attracted the notice of 
many thoughtful minds in the kingdom, known in intellectual 
circles as a young man of ability and learning far beyond his 
twenty-three years, sought election as Member of the Royal 
Irish Academy, but without success. On April 2, 1852, 
Mr. Edward Clibborn, Acting Secretary of the Royal Irish 
Academy, wrote to him — 

"Your election will come off with flying colours on the 12th 
of April next. You might look to your proposal paper, and 
say, * Shall it go to the Academy with so many names to it ? ' 
Four is the number required, but yours has eight. This will 
get you some black beans from those who can't muster 
more than the required number (4), so that you may have 
to cry out, ' Save me from my friends.' " 

On the fly-leaf of this letter there is a note in Gilbert's 
writing — 

" Names of Proposers : John O'Donovan, LL.D. ; George 
Petrie, LL.D. ; Charles Graves, F.T.C.D. ; Sir Robert Kane ; 

' Rev. Charles Graves, D.D., Trinity College, Dublin ; afterwards Bishop 
of Limerick. 



Rev. W. H. Drummond ; Samuel Ferguson ; W. E. Hudson ; 
John E. Pigot. 

"N.B. — All these were voluntary signatures, none of them 
having been solicited. 

"Blackbeaned on the I2th of April, 1852, the Secretary 
of the Celtic Society being the first individual rejected in the 
Academy's new house in Dawson Street." 

It was understood by Gilbert and his friends that a 
strenuous effort had been made by a certain element in the 
Academy to compass his rejection. On April 27 Mr. Clib- 
born wrote again — 

"I have no doubt that the result in your case arose out 
of a misconception as to the identity of the party proposed, 
or by the neglect of your proposers, in either not attending 
the meeting or not asking people to vote for you. Your 
friends have declined to put you up again. I think them 
quite wrong, but such is their opinion, and they must now 
act on it, as the time for proposing was allowed to pass on 
Monday night last. You would not ask Haliday, to be sure, 
but he expressed his opinion of your merits, and his obliga- 
tion to you, and his opinion that you were a person to more 
honour the Academy than the Academy was to honour you, 
if you were its member — and who will deny this opinion ? 

"Your case lies at the door of your proposers, and not 
with the Council of the Academy. No doubt you got several 
black beans for the reason I mentioned to you, but on your 
own demerits or merits I hope you got very few. Eight of 
your friends proposed you, and when the ballot arrived six 
of them were absent, and the two who Vv'ere present made 
insufficient efforts to get you elected ! This is the grave 

Despite the friendly tone of the above, no doubt sincere, 
letter, it was known to Gilbert's adherents that the black 
beans which kept his brilliant talents outside of this intel- 
lectual centre of Dublin were due to a spirit of sectarian 
prejudice, which it is to be hoped has lost some of its force 
during the passing of the last fifty years. He made no 



second attempt at that period, and it was not until the year 
1855 that he was, as he said later, when recalling these 
experiences, forced into the Academy by his true and 
unswerving friend, Dr. (afterwards Sir William) Wilde. 

To the young man on fire with enthusiasm, conscious of 
peculiar ability, and gifted with an enormous power of work, 
the disappointment was a stinging one. He did not, how- 
ever, allow it to hurt him beyond the moment, and continued 
to push on his many arduous undertakings in literature 
and research, at the same time extending the circle of his 
friends on intellectual and social lines in this country, in 
England, and in bibliographical and archaeological centres on 
the Continent. His acquaintance with languages — ancient, 
middle, and modern — and his skill in palaeography, acquired, 
not in any training school, but by his own individual effort 
and industry, enabled him to pursue his researches, un- 
hindered by technical difficulties ; and his extraordinarily 
keen eyesight, which never failed him in the slightest degree 
till the end of his life, was a ready aid in the deciphering 
of writings of past times, even to many trained eyes un- 

With all his serious tastes and weighty accomplishments, 
Gilbert, at twenty-four, was no ponderous young man carry- 
ing an " old head on young shoulders." With his large, well- 
developed figure, moving with an easy swinging step, his 
dome-like forehead and strong, level brows, he looked older 
than his years, until a sudden fling of boyish gaiety undeceived 
the observer. He would say, with a laugh, that he wore a 
hat of the same size as Dan O'Connell's ; but Gilbert was 
six feet high, and of a finer build than the Liberator. Clothed 
with warm, brown locks, it was a leonine head ; and his mild 
yet penetrating blue eyes usually shone with genial fun when 
not concentrating their forces on the consideration of some 
abstruse matter. Personally, "J.T.," as he was called, was 
the delight of his friends, brimming with good humour, ever 
willing to leave his book at their summons, with keen readi- 
ness for enjoyable companionship. He was gifted with that 



easy courtesy of manner which is so great a sweetener of 
social intercourse, and which, in his case, accorded well with 
pursuits leading him into courtly company, not only of the 
living present, but through the dust of the past. Two letters 
written by him in this year show him in his serious and in 
his merry mood. Concerning some matter connected with 
the Celtic Society, a misunderstanding had arisen between 
him and Dr. R. R. Madden, author of " The Lives of the 
United Irishmen," and very many years the senior of 
Gilbert, occasioning the following correspondence. The 
younger man wrote — 

" As it will be exceedingly awkward and prejudicial to 
the affairs of the Society to have on its deputation two 
members who from ill-feeling have not even spoken to each 
other for a considerable period, I write to propose that we 
should, for a time at least, agree to forget our private dif- 
ferences. In alluding to an ill-feeling between us, I wish you 
to understand that I am totally unconscious of having acted 
in a manner calculated either to injure or annoy you, and am 
prepared to explain fully any portion of my conduct which 
you may have considered offensive to you. 

" Should you not agree with my proposal, it will, perhaps, 
be more judicious for either or both of us to withdraw from 
this deputation rather than allow any private differences to 
interfere with the interests of the Society which we represent." 

To this letter Dr. R, R. Madden replied— 

" Let me assure you, I feel entirely satisfied with the 
explanation you have given me, and I feel a little ^//^satisfied 
with myself, that my rather extensive dealings (for my sins), 
with booksellers and publishers do not furnish me with more 
experience than to allow me on the occasion in question to 
imagine the fault was not the publisher's which placed two 
gentlemen, who were of the author genus and friendly, in a 
wrong position towards each other. But as far as you and 
I are concerned in the affair, your note removes every trace 
of an impression that caused an estrangement which I always 
regretted, and now blame myself for having allowed to take 



place. Be it as you say about my continuance on the Council 
and as you wish that in literature at least we should show the 
propriety of there being ' A Society of United Irishmen,' so 
be it ; and, in the words of Cassius, let me add — 

*' 'Never come such division 'tween our souls ! ' 

The appropriate rejoinder I feel I may supply from you : 
* Everything is well ! * " 

The little misunderstanding hinted at was the beginning 
of a lifelong friendship. The second letter is addressed to 
Dr. Lyons, a young man only six years the senior of Gilbert, 
who had already distinguished himself as a physician, and 
was afterwards noted for his devotion to medical science in 
the Crimea after the war. Dr. Lyons, like Gilbert, was in- 
terested in the Society for the Preservation and Better Know- 
ledge of Irish Music. 

"August 4, 1853. 

"Dear Lyons, 

"I am glad to find you looking so (jf after the 
members, and enclose a cheque. We may now consider our 
music fixed on a trebly firm base, and I hope the public may 
not find it hard to understand in its Petrie-fied state, altho' — 
why should we discredit the fable of music moving stones 
when we know that our Irish composers have made so many 
PUrjc fculse which some declare to be the original Jig-or- 
notight, thus attempting to confirm the idol theory of those 
who try to prove that the Irish were originally Indians, while 
any one who passes along our country roads can see how 
much more probable is the Cart-a-genian theory which 
Vallancey drove at when he gave the reins to his imagination. 
Others, indeed, give us Spain by asserting that our melodies 
have a decidedly Moore-ish tinge, and declare that altho* we 
have no national flag, they have seen several pieces of green 
Bunting very highly exalted. 

" But isn't it useless to continue thus harping on, stringing 
words together merely to make them instrumental to our 
purposes, so different from the ingenuousness of the old Irish 



who hated falsehood so much that they were always striking 
the lyres, and were content to live on so little that they were 
never happier than when enjoying their Cttuj-c in peace ? 

" I hope Dr. Petrie will not omit to notice that the ^olian 
harp originated in this country, as it can be clearly proved 
that all the instruments of music in Ireland were played by 
the Gaels : pray keep this private, otherwise it will be scattered 
to the winds and blown upon ! 

" I hope that the society may continue * crescendo,' and 
that your applications for subscriptions may be answered so 
' allegramente ' that you will be able to assume a * maestoso ' 
position ; and surely you can never become * diminuendo' so 
long as the funds are well ' led.' And that you may thus 
have reason to remain ' vivace ' * con spirito ' is, I am sure 
the desire of ' tutti.' 

" Excuse me for trespassing so long on yours, which, I am 

sure, is no EE, and, believe me, without [jtery or variations, 
yours, ' al fine,' 

" J. T. Gilbert." 

At this time punning and playing with words was a 
favourite form of wit, and when in frolicsome humour, " J. T." 
would pour forth such jeux de mots with laughable rapidity, 
often in competition with Denis Florence MacCarthy, to the 
amusement of their friends. Many of their sayings on such 
occasions floated long about Dublin, repeated with much 
effect by good, genial Father Healy and other professional 
humourists ; as, for instance, Gilbert's greeting to a certain 
ecclesiastic, who had escaped a railway accident without 
injury, " I thought you would have been a bishop in partibus 
by this time ; " or MacCarthy's exclamation to a tiny girl 
who looked at him with eyes like forget-me-nots, " My child, 
you will have a blue look-out for the whole of your life ; " or 
the poet's allusion to himself, after his hearing had become 
slightly impaired, as " De — f (deaf) MacCarthy, de Bard of 



Several genial societies were inaugurated in Dublin 
about this period. A passage from MacCarthy's diary, 
March 15, 1853, records a meeting of the "Mystics" at 
Dalkey — 

"About thirty of the Brethren attended. Waller (Dr. 
John Francis) in the chair ; Magrath, vice ; Gilbert sat next 
me. Wilde, Starkey, Porter, King, Corcoran, Jones the 
sculptor, Hayes, Darcy, Armstrong, Thornton, and many 
others whose names I did not catch. Waller proposed my 
health in his usual friendly manner. The Society may 
grow into one of some value, but it will require revision 
and care." 

Of December 6 of the same year the diary notes, " Dined 
at John Pigot's ; Gilbert, Sullivan (W.K.), and a few others, 

Pigot, who was an intensely earnest man, looked on the 
Society as too frivolous for a serious worker, for he writes 
to Gilbert — 

" Ere this they have made a * Mystic ' of you, and you 
have sacrificed to the Jupiter^Esculapius and Juno-Minerva 
[Dr. and Mrs. Wilde] of Westland Row. I wish you joy of 
the pleasant company you are likely to meet in your new 
courses, and of the pleasant anticipations of literary and 
historical eminence into which you are sure to rise in such 
company ! " In the same letter, however, the mentor rather 
discounts his warnings to his young friend by condemning 
his too persistent devotion to his desk and books. 

" I am very sorry you could not come up for a week [to 
Buncrana], and your friends here are all equally so; and, 
moreover, it is the unanimous opinion that your Portuguese 
visitors were myths, merely. Seriously, I think you do 
yourself great injustice by staying in Dublin all the summer. 
However, there is no use in talking to a mule." 

Pigot dates from loc T^jU^se, and is very scornful 
concerning a mistake in the grammar of Gilbert's super- 
scription on his envelope — 

" What nice spelling of the vernacular yours is ! Of 



course, you forgot to recognize that it contains such ab- 
surdities as declined cases and rules of grammar ! loc 
fujle-dc, indeed ! " 

A year or two later Pigot makes the same reproach of 
overwork. When writing from Castletown Berehaven, he 
says — 

" It would have been much better for you to have come 
down south, and rambled about Bantry Bay, than to have 
gone to Wicklow." 

Pigot was a barrister, and took his "long holiday," but 
Gilbert's work was never done, and rarely to be parted with 
for periods measured by weeks rather than by days or hours. 
The desire for his work was a passion, and the fascination 
of centres connected with it held him always within easy 
reach of them, except when the exigencies of the work itself, 
or possible advantages to it, required or induced him to 
move unusually far abroad. The enjoyments of country 
ramble or after-dinner talk snatched from his multifarious 
engagements and undertakings were, however, enjoyed with 
a zest unknown to many a man who puts the girdle of his 
travel round the earth, and reckons the extent of his pleasure 
by the measure of its mileage. 



History of Dublin — Letters of the period. 

In these earliest years of the fifties, Gilbert, while laying up 
material by the way for future works, was earnestly engaged 
on his serial publication of " The Streets of Dublin." The 
first papers attracted much attention, and letters poured in 
on the editor of the Irish Quarterly Review from all sides 
asking questions concerning historical details of localities, of 
houses in or about the city, and of the identity and circum- 
stances of certain of their inhabitants. In many cases the 
anonymous author of " The Streets of Dublin " was able to 
satisfy his correspondents, though sometimes anxiety or 
curiosity demanded the impossible. The pains taken by 
the young author to extend his own researches, not only 
by the discovery of every scrap of written record of the dead, 
but by drawing from the source of the memories of those 
still living, are suggested by the great number of letters 
which remain relating to the work as it progressed in the 
Irish Quarterly Review. A few examples from this volumi- 
nous correspondence of fifty years ago may prove interesting 
to Dublin people, in the present day. 

Attracted by the article on Dr. Samuel Madden, founder 
of the Dublin Society, Sir Frederick Madden writes from the 
British Museum, asking for " particulars of a John Madden, 
who, in 1734, resided in Bachelor's Walk." With this object 
Sir F. Madden is " very anxious to learn if any early assess- 
ment books or poll books exist of the city of Dublin, and, 
if so, where they are deposited, having been informed some 




years ago such books were in Dublin Castle ; but on appli- 
cation to Sir George Eliot, the Secretary of State, no such 
documents could be found." 

With reference to the noble old town mansion of the 
Duke of Leinster, known as Leinster House, now the centre 
of the Royal Dublin Society, Lord Kildare " regrets that he 
knows no particulars connected with the history of Leinster 
House worth publishing, but will be happy to make any 
inquiries that may be of use ; " regrets that he has not been 
able to discover what was the expense of building Leinster 
House, nor the name of the artist who gave the designs for 
the ceiling, etc. As to the disposition of the rooms, the 
present library was the "Gallery" in which were the best 
pictures, the next room to it the Drawing-room ; " the long 
room below was called the "Ballroom," the next to it the 
"Dining-room." The pictures are now at Carton. Lord 
Kildare states that he "has a medal struck in commemo- 
ration of the memorial presented to the King by the Earl 
of Kildare in 1754. There are some pamphlets of that 
period in the Library at Carton, but no record of the Mas- 
querades of 1778. The duke ceased to reside in Leinster 
House in 18 15." 

This correspondence was the beginning of the warm 
friendship and sympathy ever afterwards manifested towards 
Gilbert by the late Duke of Leinster, grandfather of the 
present youthful duke. 

"There will be no difficulty in the way of your making 
searches in the books of the Royal Irish Academy," writes 
Mr. Edward Clibborn, Secretary to the Royal Irish Academy. 
'*Whyte's Academy, No. 79, Grafton Street, will, I hope, 
occupy a place in the history of Grafton Street, and some 
notice of the men who first drove the quill there. William 
John Whyte, Irish law-agent, London, might be able to 
give you lists of the names of the pupils who lived under his 
grandfather's baculus. The Royal Dublin Society was 
located in Grafton Street, and was burned down there, I 
believe, next door to the Academy House. Perhaps the 



houses of the Academy House, and of those above it, say the 
houses 113, 112, III, no, and 109, might explain where old 
Mornington House was, and was not — but I suppose you are 
made up on all these points." 

The following note from John P. Prendergast, author of 
" The Cromwellian Settlement," is curious, read in the light 
of the present day. Referring to the will of Mr. Hudson, 
dentist (date 1822), of which Gilbert was in search of a copy, 
he says — 

**The testator leaves ;^500, towards building a hollow, 
conical tower in the churchyard at Glenville, Co. Cork, 
to erect a pendulum in, to exhibit his discoveries concerning 
the motions of the heavenly bodies as proved in various 
essays written by him under the immediate inspiration of 
Providence. In bequeathing his canal shares he says that 
they will rise from £100, each to ;^iooo, if the canal 
company adopt his plan of turning the Dodder, and if iron 
roads should be laid along the banks for the course of 
automaton chariots, which he expects to see running along at 
a velocity as yet unconceived, carrying passengers without 
fatigue of cattle. The family at one time feared that these 
ideas would raise a question of his sanity." 

Denis Florence MacCarthy writes — 

" I regret that I raised your expectations of new facts with 
respect to Daly's Club House, as the little I have discovered 
does not appear to be of importance. I may add a little to 
your wonderful stock of materials (on some other subject), 
materials which you will permit me to say you have used 
with singular ability and clearness, and invested with a charm 
which they really did not seem to possess. . . . Do you 
know Alderman Fleming, of the old corporation ? He lives 
somewhere in Camden Street, at an apothecary's, and knows 
more about the recent history of ' Daly's ' than probably any 
man living." 

Mr. Miot, a connoisseur of art in Dublin of the day, adds 
some items of information as to old Leinster House : — 

"The great dining-parlour opening to the lawn is now 



the conversation-room. The long room on the north side 
was the supper-room, where the scientific meetings are now 
held. The picture gallery, which contained some fine speci- 
mens of the Italian and Flemish schools, is now the library. 
The beautiful ceiling of the room is from designs furnished 
by Wyatt. The colonnade on each side of the house was 
erected as a screen to conceal the passage to the garden and 
offices. The volunteers, under the command of the Duke 
of Leinster, were occasionally drilled on the lawn." 

As to further details of the history of Kildare Street, Mr. 
Miot^ continues — 

"The dramatis perso7ice of *Jane Shore' is not in my 
copy of Samuel Whyte's poems, and I doubt if it is to be 
found in any copy. There is no appearance of its ever 
having been published in the volume, and there are other 
prologues and epilogues without the dramatis personce. When 
*Jane Shore' was acted at Lady Borrowes in 1790 pre- 
liminary advertisement to the poem (p. 9) states that it was a 
revival^ and the preface (p. 7) mentions that the * bills of the 
dramatis personce were taken from the public prints and 
critiques of the day,' so that perhaps it may be in some of the 
newspapers of the time, March, 1790." 

Pursuing the search into the identity of the play-acting 
personages of Dublin society, Gilbert received the following 
from Sir Erasmus Dixon Borrowes, Bart. : — 

In reference to your note inquiring about the private 
theatricals said to have been performed at Lady Borrowes' 
house in Kildare Street, and some notice of Sir Robert Dixon, 
who lived in Skinner's Row in the time of Charles I., I 
hope you have not experienced any inconvenience by my 
reply being delayed, which was occasioned by my papers 
being in the Queen's Co., from which I have only just 
returned. As regards the theatricals, I applied to Mrs. 
Bourke, daughter of the late Mr. Robert Borrowes, who 
was son of the Lady Borrowes in question. She replied 

^ Mr. William Miot was a private collector of engravings, and some years later 
Gilbert purchased from him an interesting collection of Irish portraits. 



as follows : ' My mother doubts Lady Borrowes ever having 
had a house in Kildare Street, as both she and I remember 
my father continually referring to his father's house in Leinster 
Street. My mother remembers my father and aunt often 
describing private theatricals in which they acted, as children, 
at Gilltown. She also remembers hearing that Lady Borrowes 
took part in the theatricals performed at Rathfarnham Castle, 
given by Lord Ely. It was in the house in Leinster Street ^ 
Miss Keatinge (Lady Moira's sister-in-law) took refuge when 
a price was set on her head by the English Government.' 

" I regret I cannot give you more information on this point. 
Perhaps a notice or two of Robert Dixon (afterwards Sir 
Robert) may be worthy of your attention. 

"By lease of February 28, 1624, the parishioners of St. 
Werburgh let to Captain William Meares, of Dublin, ' one 
house and garden with the appurtenances lying and being in 
Skinner's Rov/, within the said city of Dublin, which house 
and garden did lye in length from the King's pavement, or 
street, called Skinner's Row, in the north to Curryer's Lane that 
leaded then to St. Nicholas' church in the south, and from 
All Hallows ground on the east side to Caddell's ground, late 
in the tenure of John Murphy, on the west, for 19 years, for 
19^. Zd. annual rent' Captain Meares, by his indorsement 
of said lease, conveyed his interest therein to Robert Dixon, 
afterwards Sir Robert Dixon, Bart. ; this lease having been 
surrendered, the parishioners, by lease of April i, 1662, conveyed 
to Sir William Dixon, Bart., heir-apparent of Sir Robert 
Dixon, the said house and garden with appurtenances, for 
71 years, yearly rent 20 shillings. These premises were sub- 
sequently let by the parishioners to Colonel Robert Dixon, son 
of Sir Robert Dixon, and great grandson of Sir Robert, by 
lease of November 15, 17 18, for 99 years, at the annual rent 
of £1^. In 17 1 8, the fashion of the locality being, I suppose, 
on the wane, the occupiers of the above premises were, in 
front, Mr. George Tufnell, wig-maker, in rear, his under- 

^ No. 9 ; prior to 1790 the residence of Sir Kildare Borrowes, Bart., who had 
been thirty years M.P. for Co. Kildare. 



tenants. They were then bounded by Darby's coffee-house on 
the west, and Mr. Robert Owen's house on the east. I have 
a lease of the adjoining house on the east (either No. 13 
or 12) dated 17 19, then described as having been formerly 
the Old Dolphin." 

The form of swearing in Robert Dixon as Mayor of Dublin 
is described in the Records of the Exchequer as follows : — 

"30th September, 1633. Memorandum. That this day 
the Mayor, Recorder, and Aldermen of the Cittie of Dublin 
came in their scarlet gowns before the Right Honourable 
Thomas Lord Viscount Wentworth, Lord Deputy Generall 
of this kingdome, in his Majestie's castle of Dublin, where 
his Lordship being sett in his chaire of State in the Presence 
Chamber, the Mayor delivered unto him the whyte staff and 
sword of the cittie, and then, after Mr. Serjeant Catelyn, the 
Recorder, had made an eloquent oration, hee presented 
Robert Dixon, Esq., to be Mayor for this ensuing yeare, 
who having first taken the oath of the King's supremacy, and 
the oath of his office of Mayor, redd out to him by Robert 
Kennedy, Esq., the King's Remembrancer, the Lord Deputy 
delivered unto him the staffe of authoritie and sword of 
government of this cittie, which being donne. Sir Richard 
Bolton, Knight, Lord Chiefe Baron, very learnedlie and 
gravelie declared unto the said new Mayor the points of his 
chardge and dutie of his place, with admonition to dischardge 
them accordingly ; who having ended, the Lord Deputie, 
with greate gravitie and wisdome, did further advertise and 
admonish the saide Mayor to be faithfuU in the execution and 
administration of justice in his saide office, to the advance- 
ment of his Majestie's service, and the honour and good of 
the cittie, and after much graciousness intimating how reddy 
hee would bee to assiste and countenance the said cittie in 
all their just and lawful! occasions ; and so his Lordship 
ryseinge upp retyred himself into the withdrawinge chamber, 
and the saide Mayor and cyttyzens departed the Castle to 
performe the other ceremonies of the cittie as on that day 



" On the termination of his yeare of office of Mayor, 
Alderman Robert Dixon was knighted at his own hous^ in 
Skinner Row. On the ist Sept., 1645, he was returned 
to Parliament for the borough of Banagher. The authority 
for Sir Robert Dixon being knighted in his own house is 
Sir William Betham." 

After giving further particulars of the Dixon and Borrowes 
families and their connection with Skinner Row, Sir Erasmus 
continues — 

" I have a very curious account of Colonel R. Dixon, when 
a very young man, in 1695, making a furious onslaught with 
pistols, swords, etc., on his kinsman and guardian, Annesley, 
in a narrow lane, throwing his horse upon him in a ditch. 
This was from some real or supposed mismanagement of 
Dixon's landed property by his guardian, and is a fine 
specimen of the ' agrarian outrage ' indulged in by the gentry 
of that day. It is an appropriate set-off to Lord Dunsany's 
murderous attack on John Dixon " (in a quarrel about house 
property), " a copy of which I have the pleasure of enclosing." 

Concerning another old house of note. Lord Massereene 
assures the editor of the Irish Quarterly Review that " all the 
information he can give him respecting his grandfather's 
house in Molesworth Street is that it was bought from the 
Earl of Kerry, having been called Kerry House for many 
years, that it was pulled down after the Speaker sold it, and 
three houses are now erected on its site." Lord Massereene 
goes on to say that he has two relics of the old Irish Parlia- 
ment, viz. the mace of the House of Commons which his 
grandfather, Lord Oriel, the last Speaker, refused to give up 
to the Government, saying that until the body that entrusted 
it to his keeping demanded it he would preserve it for them ; 
and the old chair of the House of Commons, which was 
removed at the last refitting of that House, when a new 
one was put in its place. Lord Massereene knows nothing of 
the house in Kildare Place mentioned as belonging to the 
Skeffington family. He always understood that a house 
in Kildare Street, sometimes called Massereene House, had 



been sold by, or at the death of, his maternal grandfather, the 
fifth Viscount and first Earl of Massereene, but where it 
stood he knows not." 

John P. Prendergast makes another contribution : — 
" By lease of 2nd February, 1753, John Ensor demised to 
the Rt. Hon. Mary, Countess Dowager of Kildare, 'the 
dwelling-house on the north-west corner of Coote Street, 
otherwise Kildare Street, for 999 years, at a rent of £'ifi 
sterling.' This house is now occupied by Mr. John Rawson. 
The Archdall Mansion is the most northerly of the three 
houses in Kildare Street, i.e. nearest the Dublin Society. I 
am afraid I can get you little about Kildare Street. I hear 
that Kildare Street Club was founded on occasion of Burton 
Conyngham's being black-beaned at Daly's. I have never 
heard of any others than those you mention (nor indeed of 
half the number) as resident in Kildare Street." 

From Rev. James Graves, 
Secretary of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society. 

" When next in the Ormonde Evidence Chamber I will 
look if there is any trace of Carbury House there, and then 
ask Lord Ormonde's leave to communicate such matter as I 
find to you." 

From W. Waddington, 

"Whitehall, June 21, 1854. 

" Sir, 

" I am directed by Viscount Palmerston to acknow- 
ledge the receipt of your letter of the 17th instant, and to 
inform you that his lordship has authorized the Keeper of 
the State Papers to permit you to inspect and have copies of 
documents referring to the history of the city of Dublin in 
the State Paper Oflfice. 

" I am, sir, 

" Your obedient servant, 

" W. Waddington." 



Gilbert availed himself of the above official permission, 
leaving nothing undone in his labours of research, and at the 
end of the year 1854 the first volume of the "History of Dublin " 
was published by James McGlashan of that city, and hailed 
with delight, not only by the antiquarian and historian, the 
lover of local tradition and story and brilliant anecdote, and 
those whose family histories were touched on in its pages, but 
by the general public. The reviews from the highest quarters 
in London, Dublin, Edinburgh, and on the Continent, and 
from the provincial press in the three kingdoms, were lengthy 
and laudatory. The young author of twenty-five years was 
addressed in letters of congratulation and inquiry as a sage 
elder, who was giving to a younger generation the benefit of 
his years of study and experience ; and many friendly sugges- 
tions were made by the wise seniors who were his friends, as 
to his method in the continuance of his work, as in the follow- 
ing letter : — 

From Dr, Abeltshauser, 

" 9, Trinity College, Dublin, 

"December 27, 1854. 

"My dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" I have nearly finished the vol. of your * History 
of Dublin,' which has given me great pleasure, and which, I 
believe, will become a standard work. 

" I intend to review it and to praise it, as it deserves, in the 
Irish Church Journal, but I wish to get some information 
about a few points. To what extent would you say do the 
augmentations go beyond the articles in the Review f I 
have not them at hand, and your information of what I ought 
to say will be sufficient. 

** Do you not know the author of ' The Night before Larry j 
was Stretched ' 1 Are you aware that Chancellor Bolton I 
lived in School-house Barn ? Was not the Cock a celebrated j 
tavern in Cook Street? Why did you omit Miss Byrne, I 
the actress? Was she not connected with the Byrnes of [ 



Mullinahac ? I was present at some of the rows in Crow 
Street Theatre during the year '20 or '21 about her. When 
is the second vol. Hkely to appear ? Some of our College- 
men find fault with the placing of the references at the end of 
the vol. I do not, for 99 in a 100, like me, will read the book 
without verification. 

I remain, 

" Yours faithfully, 


The critics alluded to forgot the great dimensions to 
which a volume of this nature would extend were footnotes 
appended to each page concerning every statement. Other 
suggestions were offered which would have been worthy of 
attention in a future edition of the work. Mr. McGlashan 
writes that Lord Talbot de Malahide considered it would add 
much to the interest of the book if the author would " give 
some representations of old buildings now removed, or any 
odds and ends of old Dublin." 

Gilbert had already in view such an addition to his 
work, and had early begun to collect material in prints and 
engravings of features of the city no longer to be seen, 
some of which he introduced, later, into the volumes of the 
"Calendar of the Ancient Records of Dublin." Loud, how- 
ever, as were the acclamations with which the work was 
received, and widely as it was read, first in the Irish Quarterly 
Review as The Streets of Dublin," and afterwards in three 
volumes as ''The History of Dublin," yet the fact that most 
Irishmen prefer horses to books — theatres, racecourses, and 
platforms to libraries — denied to the author a practical en- 
couragement which might have resulted in an extension of 
the history over areas still untouched, and to its enrichment 
with pictorial illustrations, in themselves historic records. As 
the papers were issued quarterly, their publication extended 
over several years, the three volumes appearing at con- 
siderable intervals, and there was ample time for criticism 
and suggestion, also for the most cheering expressions of 



sympathy with the author, and delight in the progress of his 
work. Some of the criticisms were amusing; as, for example, 
when an English Catholic journal rebuked the author for 
speaking of " Roman " Catholics, and for neglecting to make 
his history a guide-book with regard to all the "new" 
buildings of modern Dublin. Of the letters which poured 
in on him at this time, a few may be quoted for the interest 
attaching to the names of the writers, as well as for their 
suggestive matter. Men living in and around Dublin, or 
having connection with it, and the roots of whose kindred, 
so to speak, were deep in the city, looked on with surprise 
and exceeding interest, as a ray from the searcher's lantern 
made sudden revelation of circumstances and identities 
touching their own family antecedents. 

From South Abbey, Youghal, the Rev. Samuel Hayman, 
the antiquarian, sends the following : — 

" The Review is an honour to Ireland, and of all papers in 
it * The Streets of Dublin ' form the most attractive feature. 
To every antiquary they are perfectly fascinating. The in- 
formation about the Kennedy family is most welcome to me. 
Until I read your article, I was in perfect ignorance of the 
issue of Walter Kennedy, the Baron's brother, and I deemed 
the family extinct. I have many particulars relative to Sir 
Richard Kennedy and his descendants (with whom I am 
allied, through the Jones family), which are at your service, 
if you deem them desirable. They would form some addition 
to what you have already given. Is it not singular that in 
no Baronetage of Ireland (with which I am acquainted) an 
account of the Family is given ? Burke published an extinct 
Baronetage, and does not seem to have heard of the Patent 
to the Kennedys. I gave him some particulars for a periodical 
of his called The Patrician^ which has ceased to be published. 
Should I meet with anything which may be of use to you, 
I shall take care to extract and duly forward it." 

From the Record Office Lieutenant-Colonel Larcom 
informs Mr. Gilbert that a paper he is in quest of "formed 
part of a volume left unfinished by the Record Commissioners, 



of which no part was ever published, nor, indeed, was the 
whole of the paper itself ever printed." A hope is expressed 
of procuring a copy, which shall be placed at the disposal 
of Mr. Gilbert. Mr. Wandesford writes from Castlecomer 
regretting that he cannot furnish any information relative 
to the house in Dame Street occupied by his ancestor. 
As the old house at Castlecomer was burnt in the Rebellion 
of 1798, it is possible that many papers of an interesting 
nature were burnt at the same time. 

From Rev, Dean Shea, 

" The Deanery, St. Patrick's, Dublin, 

"New Year's Day, 1855. 

" My dear Sir, 

" I am under many obligations to you for your 
valuable and most interesting * History of Dublin,' and for 
which I pray you accept my very best thanks. It is a work 
of great merit, and was long wanted. You have done ample 
justice to the subject. I should like very much to have a 
conversation with you respecting localities upon which you 
have not yet touched, and which may probably form part 
of your next volume. 

" Believe me, my dear sir, 

" Most sincerely, your obliged 

"Sam. Shea." 

Front Digby P. Starkey, 

" Accountant-General's Office, 

"Four Courts, Dublin, January 2, 1855. 

"Will you pardon me for so far obtruding myself upon 
one to whom I am a complete stranger? When a man 
publishes what everybody reads, he little knows what he 
brings down upon himself." 



From Dr, I. G. Abeltshauser, T.C.D. 

"32, Rutland Square, Dublin, January 2, 1853. 

**Dear Sir, 

" I am obliged by the promptness of your answer, 
and am glad to observe from the tone of it what I had already 
noticed in our slight intercourse — an anxiety for giving infor- 
mation to the public above every other consideration. 

"I now write to you to say, ist, that my information 
about Chancellor Bolton is from Big Mr. Bolton of Malahide, 
his descendant, who, no doubt, will give you any information 
you may require ; 2nd, the Cock Tavern in Cook St. is 
remembered by many old people. The Bishop of Cork 
told me a very droll story about a dinner-party there in 
honor of Dr. Hare's getting his fellowship. 3rd, Mr. Jones, 
the son of Fred Jones, has a number of documents from his 
father referring to the history of Crow Street Theatre ; he 
will be happy to give you any information. He is at the 
Eccl. Com. 24, Up. Merrion St. He has anecdotes also 
concerning Fishamble St. house. 

"I will take care to call attention to the state of the 
records. When Mr. Drummond was Under-Secretary I 
was asked if I would assist in the foreign department in 
arranging them, but his death prevented the work. Col. 
Larcom, who is a friend of mine, would be a very likely 
person to promote improvements in this department. 

" I am, yours faithfully, 

"I. G. Abeltshauser." 

In the above letter there is a suggestion of the difficulties 
already met with by Gilbert in the neglected state of the 
records in Dublin, and which led to his taking action in 
the matter later, resulting in the establishment of the Public 
Record Office in Dublin. 



From Sir Charles Domvile. 

" Santry House, Santry, June 24, i860. 
"Sir Charles Domvile presents his compliments to Mr. 
Gilbert, and begs to ask whether he possesses any infor- 
mation on the subject of the Hell Fire Club ? A large 
picture of a meeting of five of its members hangs at Santry 
House, and Sir Charles has the pleasure of sending Mr. 
Gilbert a card of admission in case he might like to see it." 

From the Same. 

"39, Lower Jardine Street, London, August 12, i860. 

" Sir, 

" In the event of your not publishing the second 
volume of your * History of Dublin,' you may, perhaps, be 
inclined to dispose of some of the materials you have collected 
for it. If you have any records connecting the various streets 
with families^ perhaps you would inform me, and probably 
you would also be good enough to let me have a list of the 
books of memoirs and smaller pamphlets which treat of what 
may be called the gossip of Society in Dublin during the 
fifty years preceding the Union. 

" I am, sir, faithfully yours, 

" Chas. Domvile." 

Rev. A. B. Rowan, Belmont, Tralee, sends the following :— 
" Excuse an antiquarian disciple for troubling you with a 
note respecting the interesting series of papers, said to be 
from your pen, care, and research, on the Streets of Dublin 
in the L'ish Quarterly Review, 

" When in Dublin about a month or so since, I read in the 
papers of a mad or over-driven bull having done much 
mischief in the streets, until finally hunted down and killed 
in ' Roper's Rest.' Until then I was not aware that such 
a designation still existed for any part of the city. I find it, 
however, on inquiry, set down as in the purlieus somewhere, 
Merchants' Quay- ward. 



" My object in writing is to furnish you with a small 
memorandum concerning it. Among the records of my 
mother's family (Denny) in a diary of family journal extracts, 
through two or three generations, I find the following entry 
made under date A.D. 1625 : ' I, Edward Denny, was married 
at Dublin, in Roper's Rest House, to Ruth Roper, in Lent' 
This was Edward Denny, Knight, the third in descent of the 
name, settled in Ireland, married to Ruth Roper, daughter of 
Th. Roper, first Lord Baltinglass. At first I understood 
' Rest House ' to be merely a lodging house of the family 
at the time, but since I find it a prominent designation, it 
reminds me that in Edinburgh the town residences of the 
nobles and chieftains were called * rest houses/ and therefore 
conclude that Roper's Rest was the town residence of Lord 
Baltinglass. This note may serve a purpose for your papers." 

From J. S, Lefanu. 

"18, Merrion Square South, Dublin, January 10, 1855. 

" Sir, 

" I take a great liberty in writing to you, but 
hope you will excuse my doing so, though I have not the 
pleasure of being known to you. Having read with great 
interest your first volume of the ' History of Dublin,' I 
remarked that your description of the * Carbrie * (quoted from 
some authority of the seventeenth century) differs materially 
from that of the same building in the manuscript postings of the 
forfeited estates sold in William HI.'s reign. I have no doubt 
that you are already acquainted with this document, which 
contains particular descriptions of, I think, about 200 houses 
in Dublin. It is in the King's Inns Library. I have myself 
got a volume of rare tracts relating to Ireland, some of which 
illustrate Dublin. One, for instance, describes the ceremonial 
of the entrance of James II., and which I should be most 
happy to lend you, if you thought they might be of use. 
I forget whether you quote Fynes Moryson, who in his 
Itinerary gives a slight but curious description of Dublin. 



" With regard to the * Castle ' there is in existence a manu- 
script journal of Archbishop King's, kept while a prisoner there 
in James II.'s time, and I think I could put you in communi- 
cation with the gentleman who possesses it, if you thought it 

" Believe me, sir, 

" Yours very truly, 

"J. S. Lefanu." 

Another series of letters suggest the multitudinous in- 
quiries of all kinds which sought information from the author 
who was supposed to know everything about the past of Dublin. 

From J. Hubmid Smith, 

"2, Holies Street, Dublin, August 20, 1855. 

" My dear Sir, 

" May I ask, have you any memoranda, or can 
you refer me to any books giving further information beyond 
what you will see (by my manuscript book accompanying 
this) I have collected respecting the Round Tower which 
existed not long ago in Dublin ? Miss Beaufort took my 
manuscript down to Dean Butler of Trim some time ago, and 
he sent it back to me last week with the note you will find 
in it. May I ask you not to keep it long, as I am working 
at a paper on the subject for the Royal Irish Academy. I 
have spoken a good deal to Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Charles 
Haliday also on the subject of this tower, and they have 
seen my notes, but not the drawing from the pen-and-ink 
sketch made in 175 1, which poor Sir Wm. Betham was kind 
enough to lend me some time before his death. 

" Believe me, my dear sir, truly yours, 

"J. HuBAND Smith." 

Concerning two " tradesmen's tokens " issued by persons 
residing in Copper Alley, Edward Harris and Henry Gates, 
which coins were in the Royal Irish Academy Cabinet, Dr. 
Aquilla Smith asks — 

" Can you tell me anything about Lady Fenton, mentioned 



in Harris's ' History of Dublin,' p. 85 ? I presume she held 
some one of the patents which were granted for the coining 
of copper farthings. If I knew the time at which Lady 
Fenton distributed the money coined in Copper x^Uey, I could 
probably identify the coins." 

The following is a specimen of the letter in search of 
ancestors : — 

From James Crosby, 

" 3, Church Court, Old Jury, London, 

" February 9, 1855. 

" Sir, 

" I take the liberty, and I hope you will excuse it, 
of asking whether in your collections relating to the residents 
in Dublin you have any particulars of a family of English 
descent of the name of Kidder. My maternal ancestor, 
Vincent Kidder (the second son of Vincent Kidder, of 
Aghaboe, in the Queen's County), was a Dublin citizen, a 
member of the Corporation about 1696, Master of the Gold- 
smiths' Company in that year, and High Sheriff of the 
County of the City of Dublin in 1718. He died in 1736. 
If you have any notes relating to this person and will com- 
municate them to me, I shall be very deeply obliged. I 
have looked with much care through the vol. of your * History 
of Dublin,' but do not meet with his name. Although any 
information will be most grateful, my chief object in troubling 
you is to ascertain, if I can, the parish in which this Vincent 
Kidder dwelt, in the hope that by a search of parochial 
registers I may obtain more particulars as to his marriage, 
issue, etc., than I am as yet in possession of. 

" I was in Dublin in 185 1, and I there made searches at 
the Rolls Court, the Prerogative Office, at the Registry Office, 
and I also examined a Pedigree of the Loftus family in a 
MS. vol. at Trinity College, in which his name occurs. In 
the underground rooms at the Custom House, where the 
business of the Goldsmiths' Company is transacted, I found 
his portrait, full-length, the size of life. Of that portrait I have 



obtained a very good copy, many years since by his grand- 
son, my late uncle ; and by the kindness of Mr. Metcalfe, 
the clerk of the company, I afterwards obtained all such 
information as the Records of the Goldsmiths' could afford. 

" I remain, sir, yours faithfully, 

"J AS. Crosby." 

The success of the " History of Dublin," the happy result 
of so much persistent labour and research carried on by the 
young man under twenty-five years of age, in the midst of 
so many other and distracting undertakings, was the cause 
of much joy to the mother and sisters, of whom this Benjamin 
of the family was the idol. To Mary especially, who had always 
been his chief companion, sympathizing with his ideals, and 
who had helped him in transcribing many items of his mate- 
rial, its triumph was delightful. Within the cover of one of the 
first volumes that came from the binders her name was in- 
scribed by her brother above the date, December, 1854. Denis 
Florence MacCarthy, who was one of Gilbert's dearest friends, 
then and always, was scarcely less pleased with his success, 
and wrote to him on the occasion in his usual playful strain — 

" You are so accustomed to praise that I know you would 
attach but little importance to any new accession of that 
cheap incense, even though the censer were swung by *a 
hand less unworthy than mine.' Yet I cannot help incensing 
you by saying this at least, that I shall be greatly disap- 
pointed indeed if your book is not pronounced by universal 
acclamation the most important original contribution to local 
Irish history which this century has seen. In point of 
interest and attractiveness you have an easy victory over all 
your predecessors, not only in local, but in general Irish 
history. You have, in fact, * solved the Irish difficulty' by 
proving that our history is not necessarily connected with 
insipidity, dryness, and want of attractions, which have been 
too long its position. You have done more: by a happy 
and characteristic accident you have shown the world, by 
the colour of the binding of your volume, that an Irish blue 



book must be re{a)d ! A miracle which I believe has never 
been effected out of Dublin." 

A postscript to MacCarthy's congratulation was the well- 
known sonnet: ''Written after reading Gilbert's 'History of 
Dublin.' "1 

From Mrs, Wilde. 

" Do not think me ungrateful if I have delayed in 
acknowledging your very flattering presentation of the first 
copy of your book to me, but in truth I delayed that I might 
read it. It is wonderfully interesting, much more so to the 
general reader than the first volume, and I am happy to see 
that public appreciation has followed very rapidly on its pro- 
duction. I have but one little objection to offer. In the 
' History of the Philosophical Society ' ^ you scarcely appre- 
ciated my husband's labours. From the passage one might 
think he had only compiled a catalogue, whereas he first 
was the one who wrote the History and told the world all 
that is known on the subject. From the context it might 
be supposed that to Professor Sullivan all the glory was due, 
though his opinion does not seem to be of much importance 
to any one on the subject. Now, what he did say had 
already been said by worthier men. Besides, for I have not 
done yet with the unfortunate passage, posterity in lo or 
20 years will certainly think W. R. Wilde was a poor wretch 
of a clerk who copied catalogues for a livelihood. There is 
nothing to identify him as a man who has done something 
in his generation, both for literature and humanity, while 
the mythical professor of a mythical university will no doubt 
be held by them as the luminary of the age, when vapid 
commonplaces are thought worthy of immortality in Mr. 
Gilbert's ' History of Dublin.' Now, don't be angry with me. 
You can bear a little censure, can you not, at least from me ? 
You know none hold your talents in higher estimation. 

" Ever yours sincerely, 

"J. F. Wilde." 

^ See Appendix. Afterwards Lady Wilde. 

' Later, the Royal Irish Academy. 



Lady Wilde never dated her letters. On the publication of 
the third volume of the " History of Dublin," she wrote again — 

" It is so interesting that I have not laid it down since 
I first opened it. That difficult chapter on the Parliament 
House is admirably done. It quite woke up all my old 
feelings, yet you never exceed the limits of calm historic 
truth. There are besides many other points of interest in 
the volume which bring the best time of Dublin and the 
best people vividly before the mind, for assuredly the people 
who heard Grattan must have been, for that very reason, a 
better race than the generation of to-day. The reviewers 
ought to do well by this volume, for you have given them 
stirring topics. I am glad my grandfather finds a place 
there, and I must thank you for the very graceful and kind 
manner you mention my husband. The details concerning 
'the College' and 'the Statue* are very amusing and curious. 
Indeed, every page of the work has a vivid interest beyond 
the preceding volumes. Even the style appears to me 
better. It is free-er and more flowing . . . There is less 
dust, for we are leaving the lower strata and getting up into 
the recent formations. The names are familiar names — all 
those you give in Molesworth Street were my mother's 
friends — I have heard them all talked of so often. You 
should have said, I think, the Rev. C. R. Maturin, author of 
* Bertram,' * Moutoris,' Melmoth,' etc. He is better known by 
these than by anything else. However, it is not much matter. 
I have met many relations here and there mentioned ; others 
will find the same, and this will make your volume espe- 
cially interesting to the readers. The Foster family certainly 
should take a dozen copies, you have done them full justice ; 
Mr. Magee another dozen, to buy up the very amusing 
absurdities of his father. You will become quite dreaded 
in Dublin. Such secret dead knowledge about our forbears ! 
Do you know, I absolutely fell into a fit of tears over the 
last great scene of October 2, 1800, and had to shut up 
the volume for the night. See how dangerous your book 
is to the peace and repose of families. So, as I could read 



no more, I thought I would write a line just to thank you 
and congratulate you, which I do with all my heart, and to 
express a hope that our country will honour and appreciate 
your labour, zeal, and learning as they so well deserve. 

" Your obliged friend, 

"Jane Francesca Wilde." 

From the Rev. John Henry Newman^ DM. 

"The Oratory, Birmingham, January 25, 1859. 

" Dear Sir, 

" I have received * from the Author ' a copy of 
your * History of the City of Dublin.' This was only a day 
or two ago, or I should have acknowledged it sooner. 

" I beg now, though late, to thank you for it, and that, 
not only on the ground of the value of the work itself, which 
I perceive to be very great, but of the gratification which 
it has been to me to receive such a compliment from you. 
" I am, dear sir, yours very faithfully, 

"John H. Newman." 

On the publication of the third volume of the " History 
of Dublin," the Cunningham gold medal of the Royal Irish 
Academy was awarded to the author. The medal is large, 
and of gold, value £2^^ having a spirited head of Lord 
Charlemont, first president of the institution. 

The " History of Dublin " was never completed, a large 
portion of the city having been left untouched by the author, 
who had serious reasons, besides lack of encouragement from 
his fellow-countrymen, for quitting this interesting field for 
higher and wider ranges of Ireland's history. It had been 
observed by some of the English reviewers that the Castle 
of Dublin had been inadequately dealt with ; but Gilbert had 
reserved much material concerning that centre of Dublin's 
story, having in view the publication of a work which he after- 
wards published under the title of a " History of the Viceroys 
of Ireland," but which, as he said later, ought to have been 
described as a history of the English Government in Ireland. 



Member and Honorary Librarian of the Royal Irish Academy — Dtibliii 
Univeisity Magazme — John Edward Pigot's proposed newspaper 
— John O'Donovan — Excursion to Aran — Sir William and Lady 
Wilde — Irish Dictionary — Letters. 

In 1855 Gilbert was elected an honorary associate of the 
Genealogical and Historical Society of Great Britain and 
Ireland, and on April 9 in the same year was elected, by 
a large majority, a member of the Royal Irish Academy, 
entering as a life member. His proposers on this occa- 
sion were : the Earl of Dunraven ; George Petrie, LL.D., 
vice-president ; Charles Haliday ; John Anster, LL.D. ; 
Lieut.-Colonel Larcom ; Eugene O'Curry ; Rev. W. H. 
Drummond, D.D. ; Lord Talbot de Malahide ; Rev. James 
Henthorn Todd, D.D. ; Aquilla Smith, M.D. ; W. R. Wilde ; 
John Francis Waller, LL.D. ; Denis H. Kelly. 

A year afterwards he was elected a member of the 
Council, and some years later honorary librarian of the Royal 
Irish Academy, an institution with which his lifelong close 
connection was thus firmly established. 

The Archaeological and Celtic Societies having been 
amalgamated in 1855, Gilbert became honorary secretary 
to the association known, after their union, as the Irish 
Archaeological and Celtic Society. The members of this 
learned society began their labours of love for their country 
long before Government had moved in such matters. The 
Archaeological Society was established in 1840, the Celtic 




Society in 1847, while it was not till 1855 and 1857, respec- 
tively, that the publication of the " Calendars of State Papers " 
and of the "Rolls Series" was inaugurated under Lord Romilly, 
Master of the Rolls in England. The "Royal Commission 
on Historical Manuscripts" was instituted as late as 1869. 

As secretary of the society (a position which he held in 
conjunction with Dr. James Henthorn Todd, F.T.C.D.) 
young Gilbert was surrounded by a number of eminent 
seniors, men profoundly impressed with the need for dis- 
interested effort on the part of some Irishmen in order to 
save the ancient literature of their country from passing into 
oblivion ; also for collecting together Irish antiquities of all 
descriptions, to be deposited in one central treasury for the 
benefit of posterity. For the accomplishment of the latter 
work posterity owes its gratitude chiefly to Dr. (afterwards 
Sir William) Wilde, who, as a member of the Royal Irish 
Academy, employed a special genius for such matters and 
an irrepressible energy in struggling against the obstacles 
in the way of his self-assumed duties as collector ; while to 
the exertions of the two secretaries it was mainly owing that 
the society was for many years enabled to continue its pub- 
lication of various works of the utmost importance to the 
history of Ireland. Of the difficulties of such publication 
Dr. Todd wrote — 

" Those alone who have been themselves engaged in such 
labours can fully estimate the impossibility of editing such 
a work with the care and accuracy of sound scholarship, 
unless sufficient time be devoted to the task. If, indeed, we 
had many editors, each engaged on different works, and if 
their labours could be put to press simultaneously, it would 
be possible to bring out a work once or twice in the year, 
without interfering with the caution and deliberation neces- 
sary in editing our long-neglected literature. But the society 
is aware that there are not more than four or five gentlemen 
competent to act as editors of our publications, and these 
have all given their labours gratuitously, in the midst of their 
professional and necessary avocations ; nor is it possible to 


expect from them more than they have done, and are doing, 
in the cause of the society." ^ 

In the spirit suggested by the above fragment, a small 
group of earnest men did that work for the preservation of 
ancient Irish literature which has placed a large number of 
invaluable volumes on the shelves of the great libraries 
of the world, books which were anxiously looked for by 
the learned in all countries, and are now becoming rare. 
Among the enthusiastic workers with whom Gilbert was in 
daily intercourse were Dr. William Reeves (afterwards Bishop 
of Down and Connor) ; Dr. Charles Graves, F.T.C.D. (later 
Bishop of Limerick) ; Dr. Aquilla Smith ; Dr. (afterwards Sir 
William) Wilde ; Dr. John O'Donovan ; Professor Eugene 
O'Curry ; Dr. Charles W. Russell, President of Maynooth 
College. To O'Donovan and O'Curry the editors of the 
various works of the society looked for translations of manu- 
scripts in which their material lay hidden under the (to them) 
almost impenetrable obscurity of the Irish vernacular. 

As secretary of the Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society 
alone, Gilbert had ample employment for the time of a man 
of unusual learning and energy, as is evidenced by the shoals 
of letters remaining, which request information on difficult 
points of history or matters antiquarian. Men, his elders by 
many years, engaged on works now associated with their 
distinguished names, looked to him for help on their ques- 
tionable points, and unravelling of their hardest knots. 
Reading these letters, one is surprised that he could have 
had any other work on hands than the business and demands 
of the society, yet side by side with them he carried on 
his onerous private engagements, while the labours of his 
historical research were making vigorous progress. In the 
Bodleian Library, the British Museum, and other home 
and foreign storehouses of the written words of long-dead 
men, his transcribers were at work ; and in every discoverable 
byway he sought persistently for his material. 

^ From a manuscript signed "J, H. Todd," and indorsed, "This was 
intended as the beginning of a report to be issued soon after the appearance 
of Reeves' book " (St. Cohnnba). 




He had now planned the " History of the Viceroys," and 
began to pubh'sh papers on the " Castle of Dublin '* in the 

Dtcblin University Magazine; the Irish Quarterly Review 
having ceased to exist. In December, 1856, Mr. Cheyne 
Brady, editor of the Dublin University Magazine^ wrote to 
him — 

" I have no doubt whatever that you will render the 
papers worthy of your acquired reputation, and I shall be 
exceedingly pleased to be instrumental in furthering your 
views in any way within my power." A little later he writes, 
"Although the period you have treated in this chapter is 
remote, yet you have thrown considerable interest into your 
account of the ancient castle. I have no doubt your history 
will be very acceptable to all Irish readers." A day or 
two further on, however, he suggests, " I think it would be 
advisable to leave out some of the dates ; they are very 
numerous in some places." Again the editor complains 
that the matter is " too antiquarian." He wishes the manu- 
script to be " compressed into a few pages," and only the 
"interesting portions" of the history of the castle and its 
governors proceeded with. The editor wanted light litera- 
ture, and Gilbert was giving him serious history based on 
documentary evidence, with patient labour obtained. " Anti- 
quarian lore," writes the editor, "derived from chronicles 
which may or may not be worthy evidence, is not sufficiently 
attractive to the readers of the magazine," and he urges the 
historian to " pass on quickly over the chronicling of events, 
and supply amusing incidents ; " notwithstanding all which 
Gilbert pursued his way with the thorough integrity that 
characterizes his work. 

Letters of this year (1855-6) show that his friend, John 
Edward Pigot, was dissatisfied with Gilbert for hesitating to 
incur fresh responsibilities, such as had caused him serious 
financial loss in the Irish Quarterly Review^ and that he 
strenuously urged him to devote his pen and purse to the 
service of a projected new Irish newspaper, on the establish- 
ment of which Pigot had set his heart. While chafing at the 



views of his young friend, Pigot at the same time pays a 
tribute to Gilbert's judgment and conscientiousness. 

" I shall not enter into all your * reasons,' " he writes. 
" Entertaining an opinion, either strongly unfavourable to or 

seriously suspicious of Mr. J that alone would be sufficient 

ground for declining to place him in so trusty a position. 
Yours are, in this matter, the same objections, exactly, as 
Dwyer's and O' Flaherty's ; and for your objection on this 
score I have much more respect, because you had abundant 
opportunity to form a judgment, and I am sure your judgment 
is one for which you can give good grounds. As to the other 
objections, respecting insufficiency of capital, I entirely agree 
with you. I am strongly of opinion that less than ;^iooo, 
would not be sufficient. It was also, I conceive, understood 
by all the men who promised to lend sums of £^0, etc., that 
they were to do so upon being satisfied of ;£"iooo, at least, 
being completed, and with anything substantially less than 
;f icxx), I think, neither Sullivan nor Lyons, any more than 
you and Dwyer, would bring in their shares. I have en- 
closed your letter to Denny Lane of Cork, and asked him to 
consider all this, insisting that the project cannot go on till 
these difficulties are solved. ... I feel very sensibly the 
position in which two men, for whom I have so much per- 
sonal regard as well as so great respect and so high an 
opinion as you and Dwyer, have placed themselves with 
respect to a design which is in my mind of so much import- 
ance to the country, so much to a cause in which I myself 
have been ready to sacrifice all things, and for which I am 
ready still. The defection of you two diminishes the already 
too small stock of literary support to be calculated on, dehors 
the regular contributions of paid men. Without you two 
there is too little literary back to start properly such a paper 
as that proposed. I have counted so much on your good 

nature as to tell J you would give him the best advice 

in your power." 

Gilbert was not a journalist, and his responsibilities were 
already as great as he could venture to incur. He gave his 



financial assistance to John Edward Pigot's project, but the 
works by which he intended to serve his country were wider 
and deeper in their aim, further reaching and more lasting 
in their result than could be wrought through the medium of 
an ephemeral press, and he had resolution to pursue his own 
way, despite the urgent appeals of so admired and esteemed 
a friend, to lose it in the columns of a newspaper. 

The following letters to Gilbert from Dr. John O'Donovan, 
the great Irish scholar, to whom Ireland is so deeply indebted, 
and of whom no record has as yet been written, except the 
short memoir published by Gilbert after O'Donovan's death, 
may find a place here : — 

From Dr. John C Donovan. 

"Dublin, January 25, 1853. 

"My dear Friend, 

"You would oblige me very much by lending 
me for a very short time * Camden's Remains,* writ in 
English, and Richard Verstegan's * Restitution of Decayed 

" I am working at Irish surnames, and I am anxious to 
compare our surnames and sobriquets with those used by 
our neighbours in the larger island. I know not whether the 
Welsh have produced any work on the subject of their 
aps and maps. If they have, I never saw it. I have 
varieties of little books on names of ancient places produced 
in Scotland, England, etc., but none on the surnames of men 
or tribes. Do you happen to know of any? Hoping that 
you will pardon this trouble, I remain ever sincerely your 

" John O'Donovan, 

" Son of Edmond, 18 17, 

" Son of Edmond, 1798, 

"Son of William, 1749, 

" Son of Cornelius, 

" Son of Edmond, a homicide, 1643, 

" Son of Donell, 161 8, 

" Son of Donell, a savage, 1584." 



From the Same. 

" I find that the word cottitidrtjdij, which I have 
rendered rowers^ is glossed * victorious/ * active,' * energetic, 
etc. Burren, to which this epithet is applied, is bounded on 
the north by the Bay of Galway, and on the west by the 
Atlantic Ocean. Its surface is very like that of the Aran 
islands, which you saw in 1857, and the epithet "claidh- 
reidh' applies to the stone fences, through which one 
could read a book. Now, uniting the two epithets, and 
ascribing them to Burren, a very strange picture is presented 
to the mind. Burren, of smooth ditches, the victorious ; 
meaning, Burren of the dry-walled ditches, famed for victories. 
|i4n) means an oar. * Clonroad ' means the plain of the 
long oars or rowers. Epithets of this kind have no meaning 
at all, so that it matters little how they are translated. 
* Burren, the victorious, famed for limestone DITCHES,' is the 
meaning, but by ditches you are to understand hedges or 
fences, not TRENCHES. 

" Yours ever, 

"John O'Donovan." 

[In Ireland, be it noted, the fence is always called the 
ditch to this day.] 

From the Same. 

"Dublin, March 19, 1855. 

" You often told me that I had no HOPE. You are right, 
and so much the better for myself. I have no hope, and no 
ambition, and therefore I seldom feel disappointed. 

" When old Betham died, I applied to the Government to 
be appointed Keeper of the Irish Records, and was informed 
by the said Government that the office of Keeper of the 
Records was then held by Lord Stanhope, whose deputy Sir 
Wm. Betham had been ; and the said Government added 
that, despite of all agitations on the part of Irish patriots, the 
said office would be abolished on the decease of the said 



StdLXikope f So much for Irish offices ! I have no belief in 
any justice for Ireland, or for any other country, unless 
Ireland, and such other countries, are able to demand justice 
with the tongue, or fist, or sword. Ireland has lost all those 
instruments recently, and therefore she must rest content 
with having injustice copiously dealt out to her. I enclose 
you a note from the Marquis of Kildare to me on this subject, 
written immediately after the death of old Sir William Betham, 
who had been for years Deputy Keeper of the Irish Records 
to Lord Stan-hope, though neither the knight nor the lord 
could even read the records. Please return to me this note of 
the marquis, and let me have a few serious thoughts of your 
own about the abolition of the office, and upon my still 
standing hope that it is already as abolished as the Irish 
professorship in Galway. I have every respect for your 
judgment, but I think that your bump of hope stands too well 
developed for our present bhce look-outs^ 

From the Same, 

" Oxenford, 13, Clarendon Street, July 10, 1855. 
" I write to inform you that I am working here in the 
Boadleen boT:-le)3jt)t) (miraculous ! !) from 9 till 4 every day. 
As the large clock of St. Mary's is striking 4, a bell is 
tingled, and then I must run out and idle the rest of the long 
day wandering amid the fragrant meadows and Elysian 
shades of Oxenford (4t: tjT^dtt)), and along the flowery banks 
of the river I sis. ... I have heard the cuckoo (at) cu4c) 
at the ominous left hand side, from which I need not expect 
any good luck till next May, when I trust she will sing cuckoo 
into my superstitious right ear, in the valley of Ercail, at 
Slieve Mis, in Ulidia, where St. Patrick fed the swine of his 
Master Milco. If she does so, I shall be very much obliged 
to her indeed, but I fear she intends to persecute me with her 
sinister presages ! as the ravens did the Mantuan shepherds 
of old. 

" I wrote to Dr. Wilde, desiring him to tell YOU that I 



was sporting on the flowery banks of the Isis, and that I 
was most willing to obey your orders with respect to setting 
scribes at work for you ; but this Wilde man of Conne- 
mara has taken no notice of my letter (show him this if 
you meet him), and therefore I have ventured to stick the 
only liead which I have left remaining (my own head is gone) 
to the cover of this, and send it reeling in its headlong race 
over field and flood in the direction of a little village (in a 
small island in the western ocean) called Dinas Dulin. 
Should it arrive there safely, and bring you this little epistle, 
let it inform you that I shall be idling here till about the first 
of August or thereabouts ; hoping that you are preparing 
to enjoy a tour among the fragrant meadows and richly 
cultivated fields of Conmaiene-mara (loca amoend) overlooking 
the frothy fields of the Claddagh fishermen ! 

"My Irish translation of Tupper's ridiculous universal 
hymn was printed and sent forth to all the nations except 
Japan and the island of Raratonga. I reduced his jargon 
to sound sense, but still nobody will understand me ! Is 
not this provoking ? 

" I remain, with great veneration for your family (I mean 
the books), yours, 

"John O'Donovan." 
From the Same. 

" Oxford, July 18, 1855. 
" This is awful trifling from one who has worked all day 
and all night till now when the clock of St. Mary's is tongue- 
ing twelve ! I am glad that our friend, O'Callaghan, is 
returning to the warlike figures ! He has been so long in 
the kitchen of history that he would appear to have served 
his time to Alexis the Savoury, whom the Irish call the 
Sawyer (Soyer). When I knew him first, which was before 
his courage broke down during the Young Ireland war in the 
Cabbage Garden, his figures and tropes were usually conjured 
up from old warlike weapons and instruments of torture such 



as I saw in the Tower of London — the hissing arrow, the 
battle-axe, the longbow, the thumb-screw, the gory block, 
the divine treachery of an ambuscade, etc., etc. Afterwards, 
he dwindled into a mere gourmand (not glutton), the warlike 
spirit (animo bellicoso extincto) having died within him when 
Smith O'Brien took the field ! 

" I am tired of Dr. Wilde and his demons ! I spent a long 
time searching for ghosts in the Boadleen for him during the 
last week. Now, I have no more space, so I intend to sleep. 

"Mr. Gilbert's address is, 'Dublin, Ireland.' Dublin ought 
to know him. J. T, Gilbert, Esq., author of the * History of 
Dublin,' etc., etc." 

From the Same. 

" London, 8, Alfred Street, Bedford Square, 


" I have at last found the submissions of the Irish chief- 
tains to King Richard II. in the Lambeth Library referred 
to by Cox, but they are evidently copies made by Carew (Sir 
George), who was making great preparations to recover the 
kingdom of Cork ! ... If the originals cannot be had, I must 
copy Carew's Manuscript. They are exceedingly curious, 
and scientifically drawn by an English lawyer, whose name is 
given. They were translated into English for the use of the 
natives of the Pale, and into Irish for the use of the wild 
men of the woods. I have got permission from the Master 
of the Rolls to examine the State papers, which are still 
unexplored, but it would take 100 men 100 years to read 
them. Mr. Hans Hamilton, who has been employed for the 
last fourteen years calendaring them, gave me references to 
all the Irish letters (letters in the Irish language) which he 
has noticed, and I shall get all these and all references to 
the Brehon laws copied. 

" Excuse this scribbling. I have worked so hard to-day 
that my hand is hardly able to hold the pen ! 

"Remember me to Mr. O'Callaghan, and tell him that 



I am gloating over the letters of the spies in Ireland. 
Walker's letter to Mountjoy is worth any money. He, 
Walker, undertook to cut off Tyrone's head, but when he 
arrived in the Earl's presence the Earl shook hands with him, 
and so won upon him that he, Walker, could not find it in 
his heart to stab him, although he had the dagger ready ! 
The Earl told him to hasten away, lest his guards might see 
him and arrest him. He told all this to Mountjoy, who 
took him to be a spy employed by the papists in England 
to confer secretly with O'Neile ! ! Mountjoy took him 
prisoner ! " 

To John Cornelius O'Callaghan, author of the " History 
of the Irish Brigades," at some of whose conversational 
peculiarities O'Donovan hints in another letter, he wrote 
the following, two years before that summer in Oxford ; still 
more suggestive of labour and disappointment : — 

From the Same, 

" My sublime Friend, 

" You will oblige me by giving the enclosed letter 
to Mr. Gilbert, who requested of me to give him a slight 
sketch of the biography of the hero who forms the subject of 
it. It may be published after his death, but nothing can be 
gained by noticing any of the details just now. We all must 
inevitably suffer much between the cradle and the grave ; 
and if we suffer afterwards, we are an unfortunate race of 
animals produced by a marriage between Heaven and Earth. 
" Yours ever truly and sincerely, 

"John O'Donovan." 

During the next ten years, Gilbert was at the helm, so 
to speak, of the Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society, 
managing its business affairs, appealed to on all sides for in- 
formation and help, not only by the workers within it, but by 
readers and thinkers and authors far outside of it ; and while 
pursuing his researches with a view to future publications 



of history, he was writing in various reviews of the day on 
subjects connected with the history of Ireland, and with its 
little-known artistic and literary treasures. In the Dublin 
University Magazine, the Dublin Review , the Athenceum, and 
Gentleman's Magazine, these papers came forth from time to 
time during the early sixties as exposition of much that had 
been done by the Irish scholars O'Donovan and O'Curry, also 
of the neglected state of the Irish records, from which the 
historian who would deal fairly with Ireland was obliged to 
seek his material, too often in vain. During this period, of 
the letters which appealed to him for information on difficult 
matters, associated with distinguished names in Ireland, 
England, Scotland, France, and Germany, even those that 
remain would fill a large volume. 

"I hope," writes Dr. John Stuart, of Edinburgh, in 1861, 
that when you have time to examine the * Sculptured Stones 
of Scotland,' you will kindly favour me with any sugges- 
tions as to analogies between them and your own monu- 

Rev. James Graves asks, " Can you give me any notes 
about the Irish Privy Council or their records ? '* 

Paul Bridson, Hon. Sec. of the Manx Publication Society, 
writes : " I have a manuscript in the Irish character, lent me 
by a friend, which I cannot find any one that can decipher 
here, and which I have by this post sent you. I am told that 
it contains some information relative to our islands. Would 
you kindly put it into the hands of some of your Irish 
scholars, who would perhaps report as to whether it was 
worthy of publication ? It appears to be beautifully written." 

The Rev. Samuel Hayman, the distinguished antiquary 
of the south of Ireland, asks, " What, in your mind, was the 
* broad stone ' that anciently existed in several of our cities 
and towns ? There is a Broad Stone in Dublin, whence the 
designation of the Midland Railway terminus. There was a 
Broad Stone in Youghal, almost in the centre of the town, 
and a narrow byway near it received the name of Broad 
Stone House in consequence. No trace of the Broad Stone 



now exists here, but I have several mentions of it in the 

" What a charming book is your * Dublin ! ' May I take 
the opportunity of thanking its author for the exceeding 
gratification its perusal afforded me." 

D. H. Kelly, Mount Talbot, writes— 

" A friend of mine in France is anxious to get a plan of 
the battle of Aughrim, and referred me to Harris, where 
he said it was, but in my large folio edition of the ' Life of 
William III.' I do not find it. Can you tell me where I can 
refer to it, and you will confer an obligation on me, and if at 
the same time you would give me the number of the Ordnance 
Sheet of Galway, which contains the battlefield, you would 
enhance the obligation." 

On the flyleaf of this letter remains pencilled in Gilbert's 
writing : " Ordnance Survey, Co. Galway, Sheet 87. Harris, 
' Hist., Life, and Reign of Wm. HI. ; ' folio. Date 1749. 
page 267 a plan of the battle of Aughrim. A plan is also at 
page 134 of George Story's continuation of the projected 
• Hist, of the Wars of Ireland, 1693.' " 

In September, 1857, an excursion of the Ethnological and 
Geographical Section of the British Association took place, 
in which Gilbert played an active part in conjunction with 
Dr. Wilde, hoping that some lasting memorial of the occasion, 
useful to Ireland, would be the result. In March, 1858, a 
circular was issued by the committee. The names of the 
members of the committee run as follows : — 


Rev. Richard MacDonnell, D.D., Provost, Trinity College, Dublin. 


C. C. Babington, M.A., F.R.S., St. John's College, Cambridge. 

Eugene O'Curry, M.R.I.A. 

F. de BurgrafF, Consul for France, Dublin. 

Samuel Ferguson, M.R.I.A. 

John T. Gilbert, Secretary, Irish Archaeological Society. 



John Grattan, Belfast. 
Martin Haverty, Askeaton. 
Rev. J. H. Jellett, F.T.C.D. 

J. M. Mitchell, Secretary for Foreign Correspondence, Antiquarian 

Society, Scotland, 
John O'Donovan, LL.D. 
Thomas O'Hagan, Q.C. 
George Petrie, LL.D., M.R.LA. 

Dr. Norton Shaw, Secretary, Geographical Society, London. 
Professor Simpson, Edinburgh. 
Dr. Stokes. 

Thomas H. Thompson. 

Charles Graves, D.D., ) 

Andrew Armstrong, / Secrefartes, 

The circular stated that — 

" At the meeting held at Dun-Aengus, the Very Rev. the 
Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, in the chair, it was unani- 
mously resolved — 'That, to carry out the design of this 
excursion, the necessary steps should be taken to secure the 
publication of such a work on the Islands of Aran as might 
promote the interests of Ethnological and Archaeological 
Science, and at the same time serve as a lasting memorial of 
our appreciation of the services of Mr. Wilde, as director 
of the excursion.^ 

" The committee appointed to decide upon the means to 
be adopted for carrying the above resolution into effect met 
on the 2nd inst, at the Provost's house, T. C. D., the Very 
Rev. the Provost in the chair, when it was resolved — 

*"That, with a view to accomplish the object proposed, 
the secretaries be requested to solicit the subscriptions 
and co-operation of the gentlemen who took part in the 

" Mr. Babington offered the use of some cuts prepared for 
illustrating a paper on the Islands of Aran, published by him 
in the ArchcBologia Camhrensis. 

"Mr. Armstrong .stated that, after defraying all the 
expenses of the excursion, a balance of nearly ^lo remained 
at the disposal of the committee." 



The result proved such as is too usual in Ireland, where 
literary or artistic enterprises are concerned. Little interest 
was aroused outside the small circle of enthusiastic workers, 
and in April, 1859, was announced by the secretaries, 
Dr. Charles Graves and Andrew Armstrong, when presenting 
a report of the excursion to the public — 

"That the amount subscribed for carrying out Dr. Graves* 
resolution being quite inadequate to the production of a 
work illustrative of the ancient monuments of Aran, the 
committee reluctantly abandon their intention, and the sub- 
scriptions that have been paid will be returned." 

In the Royal Irish Academy there are three separate 
committees, to promote, severally, the interests of " Polite 
Literature " (chiefly in connection with Ireland), of " Antiqui- 
ties," and of " General Science ; " and the enthusiasts on one 
of the above subjects would, on occasions, collide with some 
whose ardour was centred in another. Wilde was often 
engaged in a struggle to carry out the work of the treasure 
trove, and his " Catalogue of the Antiquities," collected with so 
much zeal and perseverance by him, was not a catalogue 
only, but a valuable work giving the histories and uses of the 
ancient objects enumerated. He had more than one resi- 
dence in the west of Ireland, to which he escaped when his 
professional engagements permitted a holiday, carrying on 
his antiquarian search among the bogs and mountains. 

Wilde was noted for his hospitality, in which he was 
well supported by his wife, who was known in Ireland as 
" Speranza," author of much stirring and patriotic verse and 
prose, published in the Nation newspaper at, or before, the 
troubled period of 1848. She was at that time Jane Fran- 
cesca Elgee, described by some who knew her as extremel}'- 
attractive in appearance and brilliant in conversation. In 
connection with her zeal in politics, it is recorded of her that 
when the editor of the Nation (Charles Gavan Duffy) was 
indicted for an article published in his paper, Miss Elgee 
surprised the court by rising from her seat among the crowd 
and claiming the honour, or the offence, as writer of the article 



in question. Though of a good family, " Speranza " was not 
then in prosperous circumstances, and to her credit it may be 
said that she worked persistently and disinterestedly for the 
Nation without receiving that remuneration which was her 
due. Later, as Lady Wilde, she was eccentric in dress and 
" ways," and many amusing anecdotes have been told of her 
peculiarities ; but she was of a kindly nature, and warm and 
sincere in her friendships, and she had a commendable 
desire to make her house a social centre for all who were 
engaged in intellectual pursuits, or interested in literature or 
the arts. Any stranger or foreigner of intellectual or artistic 
distinction or aspiration arriving in Dublin was certain of 
an invitation to Lady Wilde's assemblies. The hostess 
dressed in long, flowing robes of Irish poplin and Limerick 
lace, and was adorned with gold chains and brooches 
modelled on the ancient ornaments of Erin's early queens. 
Sir William Wilde's peculiarities were equally noted, and 
many a witticism floated about Dublin at the expense of the 
harmless eccentricities of the Wildes. Both husband and 
wife did genuine service to Ireland in their day, and they had 
many friends. Gilbert was a favourite with them, was often 
present at their social reunions, and sometimes accompanied 
Wilde in his raids on Connemara, or the plains of Moytura, 
in search of treasure trove. 

In letters to Gilbert, Wilde complains of the Committee 
of Antiquities, and even of Dr. Petrie, the president of that 
committee, for not approving of his arrangements. " Don't 
you think it would be stupid to have a silver brooch in the 
same case with a stone celt of a thousand years anterior, 
while said brooch would form part of a beautiful group of 
such articles in our silver collection ? I think Petrie will 
agree with this view. Just make a note of the following 
subjects, and get answers thereon : — i. Localities of the boats. 
2. State of the light. 3. Numbering of Museum. 4. Dublin 
Society things. 5. Placing articles in Museum. I send you 
the letter to read, that you may see what I require." 

In another letter, he says — 



"Ever since I commenced the arrangement and cata- 
loguing of the Museum, I have, as you are aware, upon all 
occasions, where I thought it was required, consulted the 
Committee of Antiquities. And although I consider the 
Museum still in my hands and those of Mr. Clibborn, 
the Curator, I requested the opinion of the Committee of 
Antiquities upon three several subjects on the last day of 
meeting. It was therefore with considerable surprise I 
learned that, without consulting me upon the subject, the Rev. 
Dr. Reeves and Mr. Hardinge brought up and had passed 
at the Council a series of resolutions respecting the Museum 
upon the last day of meeting. . . . With respect to the want 
of authority for such a proceeding on the one hand, or as 
regards its discourtesy towards myself on the other, it is not 
my intention now further to advert, as I purpose bringing the 
matter before the Council at its next meeting. My object 
in communicating with you now is, to state that I respect- 
fully beg to decline the invitation sent through you to meet 
the Committee of Antiquities on Saturday next. Considering 
that I have studied the wishes, or taken the advice of the 
Academy, the Council, or the Committee of Antiquities on 
all matters relating to the Museum during the last three 
years, I think the circumstance I advert to is to be regretted. 
I can assure the Committee of Antiquities that no one, either 
in or out of the Academy, is more anxious to complete the 
arrangement of the Museum and the work of the Catalogue 
than I am." 

Another hasty note says, " Will you at the meeting to-day 
present my resignation to the Council of the Celtic and 
Archaeological Society ? " Yet another, " Come dine at 3 
o'clock to-morrow, and we will start by the 4 o'clock train to 
work up the antiquities." A third rejects the suggestion 
that the Academy might be requested to bestow on him 
its gold medal for the work of his Catalogue. His in- 
vitations to his hospitable house are plentiful. "To- 
morrow is Oscar's birthday, and you are such a favourite of 
his you must be sure to come and dine." Or, " Billy has 



passed his examination, and you will join us in drinking 
his health." 

Fro7Ji Dr, Wilde, 

I, Merrion Square, Dublin, March 13, i860. 

"As Sullivan lost the celt, and as I am accountable to 
the Academy for a certain number, he should, I think, send 
me one to replace it. You know the trouble I already had 
when Pigot called upon me to identify and account for a 
number of these articles. Who was Derricke, who wrote the 
' Image of Ireland * ? Was he a Scotchman t I am not at 
all sure about the costume in his tract ; nor the piper either. 

" Have you any correspondent at Nantz of whom you 
could ask a question for me about the man who sent me 
the figure of the celt — Mr. Krauenflect Do you know any- 
thing about the old seal of the Corporation t I have got 
the loan of it, and have had some good impressions in gutta- 
percha taken from it. The costumes are very curious. I 
wonder to what precise period it refers. I have had a copy 
sent to Sir B. Burke, and will give another to Aquilla Smith. 
I hope to get the matrix for the Academy. 

" Unless you and other friends look sharp, our friend Pigot 

will go out, and will come in, without any other 

change. An alarm has been sounded, and the * Recorder ' 
is at work." 

From the Same, 

" I have been so busy I have not had time to visit you. 
I have finished the spears, and hope to conclude in about 
three more sheets. I am now up to the food implements, 
and want you to give me some references to cauldrons, 
cooking vessels, or anything pertaining thereto. 

" I send you a proof to do your endeavours upon. I have 
just heard that the set of casts from Mayence are on their 
way to Dublin. If the vessel arrived, and that we could get 
them through the custom-house before the Academy meeting 
on Monday evening, they might be exhibited." 



From Denis Florence Mac Car iky, 


" When you told me that the new number of the Irish 
Qtiarterly Review contained some strictures on our friend 
Dr. Wilde, I little thought that the castigation was inflicted 
by the fair hand of your reviewer. You have, of course, 
seen the announcement [in Saunders' News-Letter] that the 
Irish Qtiarterly Review is the property of Dr. Wilde, that he 
is [also the editor, and that the leading articles are all written 
by him and his gifted wife^ Speranza ! Now, as I suppose 
that even doctors perform painful operations on themselves 
but very rarely, I must conclude that the critical scalpel 
was in this instance wielded by the editor's gifted partner, 
Speranza. What a touching tableau this would make ! 
What a sublime picture of private feeling sacrificed on the 
altar of critical justice! Talk of Brutus, and his sons, the 
Warden of Galway and young Lynch, or any other tragedy 
of ancient or modern times ! What are they all to the idea 
of Speranza, terrible and beautiful as an Amazon, with one 
hand brandishing an enormous steel pen dripping with the 
avenging fluid, and then dashing it in the face of the pallid 
and collapsed Wilde, who lies drooping and subdued across 
the other arm of the heroine ! 

" Oh ! for the pencil of Cruikshank or Doyle, or, better 
still, Leech (typical of the profession of the victim), to depict 
such a group ! " 

With regard to Wilde's struggles in the cause of the 
antiquities, Martin Haverty, author of a " History of Ireland " 
and other works, writes to Gilbert, " W^hen last in town I 
saw Dr. Wilde. He seemed a good deal annoyed about the 
proceedings in the Academy, and I think justly. He has been 
badly treated." In a later letter the same correspondent 
remarks, " I am afraid, as you observe, that our friend Dr. 
Wilde has been too hasty with the Academy. His nature 
is too impulsive, if it could be helped*" 




During this period Gilbert did work for the Kilkenny 
Archaeological Society, of which he was honorary secretary 
for Dublin. 

In January, 1856, the Rev. James Graves wrote to him, 
"Mr. Evelyn Philip Shirley has given us for publication 
in the Journal of the K.A.S. a very curious MS. tour in 
Ireland in the time of Charles II. Would you take the 
Dublin part ? " Later, he writes, " I quite agree with you 
that the best mode of annotating such documents as you 
allude to is that indicated by you. Many thanks for the 
trouble you have taken about the matter. I learn from 
Reeves that he is at work on a life of St. Columba. Dr. 
Graves, I am told, is doing nothing for the Ogham book. 
What a pity." In another letter, " By this post I send you 
the Dublin portion of Dineley's Irish Tour. You will kindly 
mark such monuments and inscriptions as have been already 
described, or given in full, also what illustrations you think 
worthy to be engraved. No one is so well qualified as 
yourself to make the selection. Is the map of Dublin of 
any interest You will know best, none better, how to note 
the text. The only way to make the Exchequer records 
accessible would be to appoint a person to take charge of 
them who would be able to read them and have an interest 
in their preservation. You have truly described their present 
state." In 1859 Rev. J. Graves writes again, "Your second 
volume History of Dublin ') is full of interesting and im- 
portant historical matter, as well as curious details, only to 
be unearthed by multifarious reading. The Latin poem 
must be a very curious one. Let me know what you think 
of it. I wish you all success in your gigantic undertaking." 

Martin Haverty, then engaged on a " History of Ireland," 
writes in the same year — 

" I wish you would give me some kind suggestion about 
my Herculean task. I feel greatly at a loss for some con- 
secutive narrative of facts on the Irish side of the question 
(since the Four Masters and Sullivan deserted me), and I 
am now in the 1641 business, where every writer appears to 



suppose that you know the chain of the story already and 
only gives his own view of particular portions of it." 

It was his large perception of the difficulties deplored in 
the above letter, his honest hatred of the false methods by 
which history upon history has been compiled, that determined 
Gilbert on publishing no statement unaccompanied by in- 
disputable documentary evidence, and in his preface to the 
" History of the Viceroys " he explains this aim. 

The history of the rise and progress of a project to 
compile and publish a complete Irish Dictionary belongs 
to this active period of the Irish Archaeological and Celtic 
Societies, of which Gilbert was secretary. As far back as 
1852 (November 23) a meeting of the Irish Archaeological 
and Celtic Societies was held at Dr. Todd's rooms in Trinity 
College, Dr. Charles Graves in the chair, when it was pro- 
posed by Dr. Todd, and seconded by Major-General Larcom 
and resolved, " That the Councils of the Irish Archaeological 
and Celtic Societies do undertake to promote and super- 
intend the publication of a complete Irish Dictionary." A 
committee of noblemen and gentlemen, members of the 
societies, was appointed, and an address was issued to the 
public, inviting general subscriptions to the Work, which was 
to be edited by Dr. John O'Donovan and Eugene O'Curry. 

The exclusive occupation of O'Donovan and O'Curry 
on the work of the Brehon Laws Commission made it im- 
possible for them, at that time, to proceed with another 
weighty undertaking. The enterprise was not, however, lost 
sight of in the mean time, for in 1859 J^^^ Martin, of 
Kilbroney, Rostrevor (by a letter of January 10), placed at 
the disposal of the committee the sum of ^200, being a 
sum equal in amount to that of a testimonial subscription 
presented to him in Australia in 1854, and which he desired 
to see used in aid of the project for preparing and publishing 
a complete Irish Dictionary. This gift was accompanied 
by a condition that by July i, i860, contributions should 
have been received by the committee making up the sum 
of ^1000, required for the preparation of the work for press. 


This, with a former donation (or bequest) from William E. 
Hudson of an equal sum {£200), placed in the hands of the 
committee a little fund which was held in reserve till July, 
i860, when fresh steps were taken to give some impetus to 
so desirable a movement. By that time the fund had been 
increased by prudent investment, and amounted to £4^1 i8j., 
with promise of a further sum of £$0, from Mr. John Martin 
(received from Australia) in case the general subscriptions 
during the course of another year should swell the fund to 
the amount of ;^ 1000. 

In June, i860, John Edward Pigot addressed a letter 
to the public on the part of the Irish Dictionary Committee, 
containing the following statements : — 

" The importance of the Celtic language, and the position 
which it holds in comparative philology, are now fully recog- 
nized by continental scholars, who naturally look to Ireland 
for the assistance, not to be obtained elsewhere, necessary 
for the prosecution of such studies. 

" The great want is a dictionary comprehending the 
existing remains of the language, and brought out in a 
creditable and scholar-like manner. 

"To effect this object it is necessary to appeal to the 
public for funds." 

The circular issued at this time by the committee further 
states — 

"Quite irrespective of historical and literary researches 
in Ireland, such an aid is imperatively required in the 
interests of general learning in Europe. The ancient Irish 
language has, for more than twenty years, attracted the 
attention of the learned in France and Germany ; and from 
Adolphe Pictet in Geneva to the celebrated German scholar, 
Caspar Zeuss, in Bamberg (whose able investigations into 
the Irish are at this moment so vigorously pursued by a 
school of enthusiastic followers), the philologists of the con- 
tinent have sorely felt the want of a work which it is the 
peculiar duty of Ireland to provide for their use as well as 
for her own. 



" The materials for such a dictionary are fortunately 
abundant, and a great part of them lies ready for use with- 
out any considerable alteration. During the many years 
which Dr. O'Donovan and Mr. Eugene O'Curry have devoted 
to the study of the language much matter has accumulated 
under their hands, chiefly authorities fixing or proving the 
various meanings of the words of which a very great number 
have long passed out of use and are not now vernacularly 
understood. Many thousands of these escaped the notice 
of O'Reilly, and many more have been wrongly explained 
by the inaccurate writers of the past century. 

The collection of Mr. Eugene O'Curry particularly 
affords ample foundation upon which to form a complete 
dictionary. That collection, constantly added to during the 
past five-and-twenty years, embraces above 12,000 articles, 
each word having appended to it an extract from and 
reference to the passage of the manuscript where it was found, 
and which, by the context or otherwise, defines its meaning; 
and very few of this immense mass of words, though occur- 
ring abundantly in ancient manuscripts of acknowledged 
authority, can be found in any printed dictionary. 

Dr. O'Donovan has also, for many years back, noted 
down many words, and has made a number of valuable cor- 
rections of the almost endless errors committed by O'Reilly, 
as regards the orthography and signification of words 
contained in his work. 

"The names of the committee of i860, including those 
of the original committee of 1852, are as follows : — 

The Marquis of Kildare, M.R.LA. 

The Earl of Dunraven, M.R.I.A. 
*The Lord Talbot de Malahide, M.R.I.A. 
*William Jones Armstrong, D.L. 

Rev. Samuel Butcher, D.D., F.T.C.D., M.R.I.A. 

Eugene O'Curry, M.R.I.A. 
*John Thomas Gilbert, M.R.I.A. 

Rev. Charles Graves, D.D., F.T.C.D., Sec. R.I.A. 

William Elliott Hudson, M.R.LA. {deceased si?ice 1852). 



Major-General Thomas Askew Larcom, C.B., M.R.I. A. 
*John Martin, Esq. 
John O'Donovan, M.R.I.A. 

Very Rev. Laurence O'Renehan, D.D. (deceased since 1852). 

George Petrie, LL.D., V.RR.I.A. 

John Edward Pigot, M.R.I.A. 

Rev. William Reeves, D.D., M.R.I.A. 

Rev. Thomas Romney Robinson, D.D., M.R.I.A. 
*Rudolf Thomas Siegfried, Ph.D. 
*Whitley Stokes, Esq. 
^William Kirby Sullivan, Ph.D., M.R.I.A. 

Rev. James Henthorn Todd, D.D., S.F.T.C.D., P.R.I.A." 

Note. — The names marked with an asterisk are those of members co-opted 
since the original movement in 1852. 


1 860- 1 862 

Irish Manuscripts — Convent of St. Isidore, Rome — Death of 
O'Donovan and O'Curry — Letters. 

At this time serious students of Irish history were very 
desirous of an opportunity to examine the important Fran- 
ciscan manuscripts, of which the Convent of St. Isidore at 
Rome was the repository, and Gilbert proposed that the 
Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society should endeavour to 
have them conveyed to Dublin. In this he was warmly 
seconded by Dr. Todd. 

On September 23, 1858, Dr. James Henthorn Todd wrote 
from Silver acre, Rathfarnham — 

" My dear Friend, 

" It would be well worth while to make the attempt 
to get the manuscripts, but I doubt if the St. Isidore people 
would lend them to the Royal Irish Academy. It seems to 
me that it would be better to get Dr. Russell to ask a loan of 
them for Maynooth College. However, if you think that 
the attempt on the part of the Academy would not be labour 
in vain, by all means summon the Committee of Antiquities 
for Monday next. 

" Faithfully yours, 

"J. H. Todd." 

In July of the next year. Professor Eugene O'Curry drew 
up a "Statement relative to the Irish Manuscripts of the 
College of St. Isidore at Rome, for the information of 
their lordships the Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland, in 




connection with the deputation appointed by the Senate 
of the Catholic University of Ireland, in conformity with the 
recommendation of the Committee at p. 63 of their Report." 

In this brochure O'Curry gives an interesting history of 
the foundation of the Irish College at Louvain, " to afford 
the ardent, unconquerable youth of Ireland the means of 
general mental cultivation and preparation for the sacred 
ministry from which they were completely cut off at home." 
He tells us that the " three noble Franciscans/' Hugh Ward, 
a native of Donegal, first Professor of Divinity, and ultimately 
guardian or rector of the college, with Father John Colgan 
and Father Michael O'Clery, began to devise means to 
rescue from the chances of threatened oblivion the perishing 
records and evidences of, at least, the ecclesiastical history 
of their native country." How they established an Irish 
press in St. Anthony's College, how Michael O'Clery went to 
Ireland to collect, purchase, or transcribe manuscripts, how he 
visited the Franciscan monasteries of this country, besides 
private libraries, and how, having accumulated his material, 
he retired to his monastery of Donegal and went to work 
upon them, is all related by O'Curry concisely and with 
simplicity. He goes on to explain that the collection of manu- 
scripts at St Isidore's is a large remainder of the materials 
from which were compiled the Annals of the Four Masters," 
and urges the great desirability of bringing these manuscripts 
and also those of the Burgundian Collection at Brussels, to 
Dublin, even for a short time, in order that transcriptions 
might be made. 

Some three years later. Dr. Todd examined these manu- 
scripts, and wrote to Gilbert — 

"Rome, Via della Croce, No. 41, 

" March 11, 1862. 

My dear Friend, 

" I have got full access to the St. Isidore manu- 
scripts, but they contain much more than I shall be able to 
carry off or transcribe. There are amongst them: i. The 



Book of Hymns, which contains two or three Latin hymns 
not in the Dublin Manuscript. There is no gloss on the Latin 
hymns, but the Irish hymns have gloss and scholia or anno- 
tations much more copious than ours. The scholia on St. 
Fiac's hymn and on the hymns to St. Brigid are much more 
copious than in our manuscript, and extremely valuable and 
important. They are, in fact, the Irish material from which 
the extant Latin lives are compiled. This manuscript does 
not contain the Hymn of St. Patrick, published by Petrie in 
his * Tara,' so that our copy of that is unique. 

** 2. I have found the 1 1 sheets of the Book of Leinster. 
They contain a complete copy of the 'Martyrology of Tallaght,' 
and some of the works of Aengus the Culdee. I would be 
very much obliged to you if you could send me as soon as 
you can a copy of Father Kelly's edition of the * Mart, of 
Tallaght,' which I might collate with this manuscript, and so 
bring home a complete copy of it. Our copy is imperfect. 

" 3. A paper copy of Cormac's * Glossary ' (if I am not 
mistaken) wanting the first leaf. 

" 4. The * Felire of Aengus,' with copious notes in Irish. 
This is the identical manuscript so often quoted by Colgan, 
under the title of * Aengusius Auctus.' 

" 5. Two Irish lives of St. Columba, one of which is, I 
suspect, the original of O'Donnell's life. 

"There are several other manuscripts of minor im- 
portance, but I must not omit to mention vol, i of the 
autograph of the Four Masters, and I am told that another 
vol. (whether the duplicate of vol. i or vol. 2) is in the 
Barberini Library. This I have not yet seen. 

" The only way we shall ever get good from these manu- 
scripts will be by sending O'Curry out to copy them. The 
journey from Dublin to Rome might be made for about £\2^ 
to ;^I5, and a man might live here very well for about 
10 scudi (about £^2) a week. Suppose we gave him £^q, 
more for his trouble (which would be very small pay) ; the 
whole thing would cost £\oo, or say £\^o, and surely we 
ought to be able to raise that sum for such an object ? 



O'Curry's copies would be quite as useful to us, if not more 
so than the originals. Think of this, and consult Dean 
Graves about it. 

"There is another thing I would like you to mention to 
the Councils of the R.I.A. and I.A.C.S., viz. the importance 
of placing a copy of the transactions of the Academy and 
publications of the Arch, and Celtic Soc. in some library here. 
I would suggest the Library of the Collegio Romano as being 
more central and more accessible than the Vatican, and also 
as that college is the most scientific body in Rome, and has 
a good observatory. 

" If this be agreed to, you might manage to send them 
out before I leave Rome, and I will take care to have the 
books presented in the proper way and to see them put up 
in their places. I shall be here for at least a month or six 
weeks. There are frequent ships direct from Liverpool to 
Civita Vecchia, and the books might be sent at once directed 
to me to the care of M. Spithover, bookseller, 80, Piazza de 

" Faithfully yours, 

"J. H. TODD. 

"J. T. Gilbert, Esq." 

O'Curry could not undertake the journey, and on August 
29, 1862, Dr. Todd wrote again — 

" Thanks for your letter and the book, which arrived safely. 
I am sorry O'Curry cannot come, but perhaps he may think 
better of it. In no other way is there hope of our ever 
obtaining the manuscripts. The monks of St. Isidore consider 
themselves under an obligation not to part with them on 
any terms. They have already been greatly annoyed by 
some injudicious overtures made to them, and I am therefore 
very unwilling to speak to them on the subject. When Dr. 
Newman was in Dublin, he procured a permission from the 
Pope, authorizing the monks to part with the manuscripts 
with a view to their being deposited in the Stephen's Green 
University. But they considered themselves bound to refuse. 



Under these circumstances I consider it hopeless to propose 
the purchase of the manuscripts. 

" You suggest photography. This has occurred to me, 
but the state of the manuscripts' renders this almost hopeless, 
and tracings d fortiori still more hopeless. Father Meehan, 
I believe, is very much dissatisfied with the tracing he has 
got. In short, our only hope is to get out O'Curry, for there 
is now nobody else who is competent, or whose transcripts 
are worth anything. 

" I hope to collate the * Book of Hymns,' and have 
already done so to some extent ; but this is all that I can do. 
I think I shall remain here for another month, so there will 
be time to arrange matters, if you can make any plan that 
will satisfy O' Curry. 

" I was very glad to see the account of the giving of the 
medals in the Daily Express, and particularly glad to find 
your name and Stokes* in the list of medallists. I should 
certainly have administered a gentle castigation to you on 
the manner in which you have printed your references to 
your authorities. However, the medal was well bestowed 
and richly deserved. 

" I am not yet in a condition to send you any account of 
the St. Isidore Manuscripts, which you could read to the 
Academy. I am so anxious to get as much matter as possible 
for the completion of the ' Book of Hymns,' that I have done 
nothing else, in the hope of finishing the collation before I 
go away. The manuscript contains some Latin hymns not in 
ours, and there are considerable differences in the prefaces. 
The Latin hymns have no gloss. But the Irish hymns have a 
copious gloss and large scholia not in ours. These I am now 
transcribing, lest O'Curry should fail me. The consequence 
is that I have seen but little of Rome as yet. I have been, 
however, very much the better for my trip. The climate here 
seems to suit me. For the last two or three days I have had 
a cold and a little touch of sore throat, but this I attribute to 
the weather, which has been very oppressive, with a touch of 
scirocco, as the Italians call it. 



" I will make the inquiry which Clibborn desires. May 
I ask you to send the enclosed to Haughton. 

" Faithfully yours, 

"J. H. Todd. 

" Learning does not appear to be at a high ebb in Rome, 
and my friends the good friars of St. Isidore's seem rather 
below than above the ordinary level ; nevertheless, they are 
most kind to me, nothing can exceed their anxiety to afford 
me every possible facility for consulting their manuscripts." 

Fro7n Rev, P, F. Moran, D.D} 

" Rome, August i6, 1862. 

"My dear Dr. Todd, 

I am sorry to have to tell you that there is no 
further hope for the present of having the Irish manuscripts of 
St. Isidore's brought to Ireland. This will, I am sure, sur- 
prise you. Everything seemed most happily arranged, and I 
was authorized, as well by Dr. CuUen ^ as by the Franciscan 
Provincial, to make application to Propaganda to obtain the 
permission of the authorities there. They told me there was 
no difficulty in the matter, and that it would be at once 
arranged. Every week I was in expectation of the answer, 
but to my dismay the answer which I at last received, a few 
days ago, was to the effect that the newly appointed General 
of the Franciscan Order sent a formal and written protest 
(which I read) declaring that he would not allow any houses 
of the Franciscan Order to part with the ancient documents 
which had been transmitted to them, and further prohibiting 
the manuscripts to be removed from the convent of St. Isidore's 
itself. This news will be mortifying to you, and I assure you 
it was exceedingly so to myself. Perhaps, however, the new 
Franciscan General did not understand how the matter stood, 
and that the Provincial could again make some move in the 

" I hope your journey homeward was as pleasant as you 

* Now Cardinal Moran. - Afterwards Cardinal Cullen. 



could desire, and that your inquiries for the Columban 
manuscripts in Milan were crowned with success. 

" I have to ask a favour from you, of which I do not 
know, however, whether it is practicable or not : it is to 
procure for me a copy of the decrees of the Synod held in 
Dublin by Dr. Curwin in 1556. Dr. Mant refers to it in his 
first volume, p. 241, and refers for the decrees to ' Loftus MS., 
Marsh's Library.* If it be permitted to have a copy made 
of this portion of the manuscript, you would confer a favour on 
me by procuring it, and I will at once pay the expenses of it. 

" Our political world continues as agitated as ever in this 
quarter. Rome, however, is tranquil, and the people seem to 
become daily more attached to Pio Nono. 

" Since I heard of the lamented death of the late Primate/ 
I have been looking out to see if perchance you might be 
promoted to that high dignity. At all events, wishing you 
every true blessing from God, I remain, 

" Yours most devotedly, 

"Patrick F. Moran." 

About ten years after this date the authorities of the 
Franciscan Order removed the manuscripts in question to 
their Convent, Merchants' Quay, Dublin, fearing the seizure of 
these valuable documents by the Italian Government. 

In 1 861, Gilbert, in conjunction with John Edward Pigot, 
assisted O'Curry in the preparation for publication, in a 
volume, of his "Lectures on the Manuscript Materials of 
Ancient Irish History," which were delivered under the aus- 
pices of Dr. John Henry Newman (afterwards Cardinal New- 
man) at the Catholic University during the sessions of 1855 
and 1856. O'Curry hardly possessed the English literary 
culture necessary for successfully sending forth in this form 
the rare message he had to give to the world, and each of his 
lectures was carefully revised, and in some instances almost 
rewritten, by Pigot. Simultaneously with the issue of 
O'Curry's volume Gilbert published in the Dublin Review 

^ Archbishop Beresford. 



a series of papers on the "Ancient Irish Manuscripts," calling 
attention to the book ; and at the same time the two friends 
continued to assist the revered Irish scholar in putting his 
translations from the Irish into correct English form for a 
future work, his Lectures on the Manners and Customs of 
the Ancient Irish," afterwards edited by Dr. W. K. Sullivan. 
On November 14, Pigot wrote to Gilbert — 
" I had a note from Dr. Woodlock asking me at what 
cost an edition of your forthcoming article could be printed 
off before the types are distributed (if, as I suppose may be 
counted on, the Review folk will allow this to be done)." 
And later — 

" Some one had suggested a doubt to his mind whether 
the publication of the reprint from the Review might not 
rather hurt than serve the sale of the book ! This idea 
will, I suppose, prevent him from printing a large edition 
of your papers. I shall still express my opinion on this 
to him, notwithstanding his note, and what you mention in 
yours. It would be monstrous to allow you to be at a 
shilling expense about reprinting. 

The portion of translation you sent me, I suppose, must 
be fully half the entire. I read over this part last night. It 
would need, I think, a good deal of revision by O'Curry him- 
self, and I believe also we should settle upon the style of 
translation to be adopted. I think, for example, that it ought 
to be free enough to be in good flowing English, and not 
baldly literal ; a translation, in short, such as Middleton 
would have made of Cicero ; not such as a schoolmaster 
working on the Hamiltonian system would construct — a 
translation accurate in every detail, but not of necessity 
verbally literal. For example, I totally disapprove of the 
style adopted twenty years ago for translation of those long 
strings of adjectives which (in the English especially) so 
much disfigure the * Battle of Magh Rath.* And there are 
some very luxuriant specimens of these strings in the * Tain- 
b6-Cuailgnc.' I wish you would consider this, and after- 
wards talk over it with me, manuscript in hand. 



"The historical and biographical and critical notes will 
certainly come best at the end of the book. And this plan 
will be attended with an advantage which I may, in strict 
privacy y hint to you ! — namely, that we shall then insert our 
number references at every word and sentence we want 
noted, and so it will be impossible for O'Curry to avoid say- 
ing what he knows — or that he knows nothing — on each 
separate number, because it must have a note of some kind. 
Also notes can thus be obtained singulatim from other 
people — as, for instance, certain topographical notes, very 
many of which, I suspect, you will have to obtain from other 
authorities also — who can readily distinguish these notes by 
their initials, as was, if I remember rightly, done in the 

" What of inserting the prospectus in the Dublin University 
Magazine? I am almost sure if Lefanu's own attention 
were drawn to it, he would do so at once, out of friendly 
feeling to O'Curry." 

Three days later Pigot wrote — 

"23, L' Fitzw" St., Dublin, Saturday, November 23. 

"Dear Gilbert, 

" I have received all the rest of the transla- 
tion, and I had a word with O'Curry to-day, who will 
rather prefer, I think, a freer translation, if no word of the 
original be omitted, a condition, of course, obviously in- 

" Let us have a talk over it, translation in hand. And for 
this purpose, if you are not engaged on Monday, what say 
you to come and dine with me ? O'Curry will come. But he 
stipulates to meet an hour or more before, so as to have 
settled whatever occurs to us before dinner — prudent man ! 
Therefore he will be with me before 5. What say you? If 
you can, try to come before 5 also ; but even if not, then as 
early as may be. I need not, I think, make a stipulation 
against over punning, for I asked D. F. McC. also to join us 
at dinner, partly to put you down, and partly to vary the 



T^jt) bo cudjl5ne with some discussion upon the asonaiites of 

Yours ever truly, 

E. PiGOT." 

In another note Pigot says — 

" Dear Gilbert, 

"If you should pass by College before O'Curry's 
hour knells (3 o'clock), go in for the fasciculus of -c^jt) bo 
cudjl5tie translation I leave with him. For convenience' sake, 
I have written out all this first fasciculus, though I have so 
rarely altered it at all from O'Curry's translation, that I think 
a good deal more will be required to make it read well in 
English. I have just done this much by way of example, 
as you desired, and when you have considered it and talked 
it over with Dr. Todd, we could, I think, easily settle finally 
how the thing is to be proceeded with." 

In June, 1861, Gilbert wrote to Dr. Lyons — 
" Every one interested in Irish literature thinks that the 
Council of the Academy has done very wrongly in not recom- 
mending that the vacancy in the Committee of Antiquities 
should be filled by John O'Donovan, to whom we owe so 

" I hope you will make it a point to come and give your 
vote for him at the election on Monday evening, as it will be 
disgraceful if he is not elected." 

Six months later, the death of O'Donovan, which occurred 
in December, 1861, caused profound grief to thoughtful Irish- 
men, and was deplored as a heavy loss by Celtic scholars all 
over the world. Rev. C. P. Meehan wrote to Gilbert — 

" Lose no time in making a memoir of poor O'Donovan 
for the forthcoming magazine.^ He was born in 1809. I wish 
yotc to do this for many reasons, which I'll specify when we 

Gilbert made use of the notes given him, as we have 

^ Dublin Review t 






seen, through J. C. O'Callaghan, some years before, by the 
lamented Irish scholar, and published the only memoir that 
has yet been written of O'Donovan ; also took a leading part 
in the movement to provide for his widow and children. The 
same letters which record the welcome given to Gilbert's 
essays on the " Ancient Irish Manuscripts " bewail the loss of 
the great Irish brehon. 

" Many thanks," writes Rev. J. Graves, " for your review of 
Professor O' Curry's Lectures. I have read it with great 
pleasure, only to be surpassed by a perusal of the book itself. 
Thanks also for the index of the * History of Dublin.' Alas, 
for our friend that is taken from us ! Alas, for the literature 
of the country he loved so well ! I cannot take in the full 
reality of this calamity. I cannot persuade myself that John 
O'Donovan, with all the rich stores of that noble, broad- 
grasping, unselfish intellect, is gone from amongst us for ever. 
I have lost a friend. I grieve for him as a brother. How 
much more you who have lived so much in his company. 
What a rich treat his forthcoming volume for the Irish 
Archaeological and Celtic Society promised to be. Is any of 
the work done ? I fear little is written. He was very fond 
of writing up his treatises and notes in proofs a process that 
only his sterling notes were worth the cost of." 

Rev. Thomas Barry writes — 

" I am greatly obliged for your kind and thoughtful gift, 
the essay 'Ancient Irish Historical Manuscripts.' I have 
twice read it with the greatest interest and pleasure, and it 
now stands beside 'The History of Dublin,' 'The Historic 
Literature of Ireland,' and the ' Celtic Records,' valued like 
them for its intrinsic worth ; as well as for those other and 
peculiar claims in my regard it has in common with them — 
the productions of a scholar — a true patriot, and my dear 

" I am glad to know such exertions are being made for 
Dr. O'Donovan's family. I need not say that I will contribute 
the very largest donation my means admit — only sorry they 
cannot allow ten times the amount. It is a sin and a shame 




that every Catholic in Ireland does not contribute. No better 
proof exists of our provincial degradation than the solitary- 
facts : 1st, we are obliged to send round the hat to provide 
bread for O'Donovan's widow and orphans ; 2nd, it will 
pass unnoticed the doors of Irish Catholics who spend 
hundreds to enrich Italian squallers and German fiddlers." 

From John Martin, 

"Kilbroney, Rostrevor, December, i8, 1861. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" I have to thank you for your kind attention in 
sending me the article on O'Curry's book. I read it over 
last night with my pipe, and found it, like your book about 
Dublin, excellent for quality of matter, for simplicity of style, 
and for straightforward dash in medias res. But what a 
melancholy state of things your article shows to exist in 
Ireland ! An ancient literature and history that any people 
but ours would proudly labour to conserve and cherish — that 
our people, above all others, ought jealously to guard, seeing 
that, robbed of their national independence, they have nothing 
of the present to boast of. And no encouragement from the 
nobles and rich men of Ireland for those who would devote 
their talents to such patriotic work as that. And only a few 
Irish scholars, and most of them old and soon to pass away, 
are now left for the work. Just think of the loss Ireland has 
suffered in the loss of O'Donovan, a loss irreparable ! And 
how many men in Ireland of the rank and culture that ought 
to make them the patrons and friends of Irish learning care 
* two rows of pins ' about the death of O'Donovan ? Most 
of them would rather give money to that poor creature of 
a secretary in aid of his fourth abomination of a Queen's 
College. Poor John O'Donovan ! God rest his soul ! Pardon 
me all this rant, and believe me, dear Mr. Gilbert, 

Ever sincerely yours, 

"John Martin." 



From Edward Clibborn, 

"Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, May 26, 1862. 
" I saw O'Curry this morning and had some conversation 
with him on the chance of your finding a corner for him at 
the end of the month. And also as to the absolute necessity 
of the Brehon Laws Commission making this library one of 
the repositories of a copy of the transcript of the Brehon 
Laws. He states that a copy had been given to the Library, 
T.C.D., and that another copy had been bound and got ready 
to be sent to the British Museum. This is not sent. Could 
we not shoot it on the wing? or put in a claim to a copy 
before O'Curry's painter is cut ? Surely the R.LA., as the 
grand depository of otild Irish in all shapes and forms, should 
have a copy, and that at once. It will enable people to test 
the text now on its way. The whole work consists of 8 vols, 
transcribed by O'Donovan, and 9 vols, transcribed by 
O'Curry. Might not the matter be mentioned at the meeting 
this evening? It would take the Committee by surprise and 
lead the Council to make the request. If the College has 
a copy the Academy should have another, and that accessible 
to scholars, who might be able to review the work as it came 
into print." 

D. H. Kelly writes from Castle Kelly, Mount Talbot— 
" Very many thanks for your interesting brochure. 
O'Curry's lectures are indeed a boon to the Irish scholar, 
and I, who have dabbled therein, am lost in wonder at the 
store of information, the depth of research, and the generally 
candid and philosophical tone pervading them. Perhaps, hold- 
ing the chair he does, he could not avoid the few bits of 
polemics that he introduces ; but they are but the patches 
on one of Sir Charles Grandison's Court Beauties, and 
possibly the very foiling adds to the feeling of truthfulness 
which pervades that precious volume. 

"Alas, that O'Curry now stands alone in his glory! Oh, 



what a loss literature has had in O'Donovan, and just as he 
was in the prime of his intellect, and public attention was 
beginning to value his labours as they ought ! His loss is 
indeed irreparable. I know no one, not even O'Curry, able 
to take his place. 

"I hope Wilde's treasure-trove letter will be widely 
circulated. Every police barrack should have a copy, and 
every clergyman of every denomination, as well as the 
country gentlemen recorded in Thom's Almanack." 

Six or seven months after the death of O'Donovan, the 
national spirit of Ireland, and all Celtic workers and 
sympathizers throughout the world, were mourning for the 
death of O'Curry. 

W. H. Hardinge wrote to Gilbert on July 30, 1862 — 
" I deeply deplore being your informant that the light of 
Israel is now all but gone. 

" Our worthy, guileless, and great Irish scholar, O'Curry, 
passed away this morning almost unexpectedly and without, 
as I am told, a struggle. I went over to the Academy to 
Clibborn, but he was out, so I left a message. All that is 
right should be done in his case as in poor O'Donovan's. I 
understand that an inquest is about being held, and I wanted 
to be there, if the duties here would permit it. Perhaps you 
might have time to go. It would be proper that all respect 
should be shown the remains of so eminent a man." 

Martin Haverty writes to Gilbert — 

" I am grieved to the heart's core at the sorrowful news 
you have sent me this morning. It is indeed most harrowing 
and astounding news ; and the loss of the friend grieves 
one infinitely more than that of the Celtic scholar. Poor 
O'Curry ! His death will add to the anxious exertions which 
yourself and the very few others who take an interest in Irish 
literature had been involved in by the death of O'Donovan. I 
am grateful to you, my dear Gilbert, for your thoughtfulness 
and kindness in letting me know this sad piece of intelligence 
without delay. May God bless you ! " 



From Rev, Dr. Reeves. 

"The Library, Armagh, July 31, 1862. 

" Your telegram of yesterday conveyed to me the saddest 
piece of intelligence which I have received for many a day. 
This death is worse than O'Donovan's, for when he was 
removed los. in the pound was still available ; but now, alas, 
there is nothing but total and irremediable insolvency ! Poor 
Ireland, she has lost her last, her only brehon ! Deeply do 
I mourn over the loss. O'Donovan and O'Curry gone, and 
Dr. Todd in poor health, and Whitley Stokes thousands of 
miles away ; it seems to me as if a black curtain had fallen 
over the sunny scene and the lively movement which Irish 
literature presented a short time ago. 

"Please God, I shall go to Dublin on Saturday by the 
early train, which arrives at 1 1 a.m. On my arrival I shall 
call for you. We cannot, without the president, do anything 
as a formal deputation from the Academy. I regret the loss 
of the Primate exceedingly, and I shall feel it more ways than 
one. But O'Curry's removal is a greater blow, because it 
entails an irreparable loss in the full extent of the word. How 
little did I imagine on Saturday, when writing about the 
Primate's funeral, and finding barely time to shake hands and 
say good-bye, that that farewell was to be the eternal finis 
to a voluminous intercourse. I am shocked, and cast down, 
and deeply grieved. Poor Eugene, poor hard-working, nature- 
taught son and ornament of Erin ! 

" The funeral, yesterday, was a wonderful demonstration. 
We can get plenty of Primates, but where can we find 
another O'Curry ? " 

After O'Curry's death a rivalry arose between the Royal 
Irish Academy and the Catholic University as to the future 
ownership of the papers left by the Irish scholar, and a fund 
on both sides was opened with a view to purchasing them. 
The following announcement was made by the Academy : — 



"Eugene O'Curry. 

"Royal Irish Academy House, August 13, 1862. 
" It being understood that the late lamented Professor 
O'Curry has left transcripts, etc., of various Gaelic documents, 
now to be disposed of, the following Noblemen and Gentle- 
men, desirous to benefit Professor O' Curry's family, and to 
secure the perpetual preservation of his Papers with those 
of his fellow-labourer. Dr. John O'Donovan, already in the 
Library of the Royal Irish Academy, have expressed their 
willingness to contribute to a Fund for those objects, in such 
form as may be decided upon by the Committee of Anti- 
quities of this Academy, in conjunction with the Council of 
the Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society, at whose disposal 
a Member of the Academy has liberally offered to place a 
considerable amount towards the above desirable purposes." 

John Edward Pigot, who was earnestly desirous of secur- 
ing the Manuscripts for the Catholic University, wrote to 
Gilbert, August 4, 1862 — 

" I had an answer from Reeves this morning, desiring to 
be excused from acting as one of the secretaries. . . . We 
concluded to ask Dr. Todd to act with one colleague, selecting 
for that colleague Lyons. We shall have done our best to 
secure the complexion as well as co-operation poor O'Curry 
would have himself sought, and we can do no more. 

" Lyons and I saw the family yesterday, as well as 
Anthony O'Curry. He arranged with these that all the 
manuscripts and books should be entrusted to Dr. Todd, 
Sullivan, Lyons, and myself to determine the negotiations for 
disposing of them to the best advantage. Of course we must 
so dispose of them, that is, to whoever or whatever body will 
give the most for them. I have mentioned this to Clibborn, 
that it might be stated at once to Todd. 

"Sullivan and I called on Mgr. Woodlock to talk over 
the plan of educating the boys. He on the whole suggests 
the French College at Williamstown (Blackrock) : he is to 



write to the Principal there to-night, and Sullivan and I 
shall call there to inquire into the place on Wednesday, 
when Sullivan comes into town. Do you know anything 
of the place or of the people there ? We have a very good 
report of it. Dr. Woodlock will, of course, gladly act on 
a committee, and subscribes £20, to the fund for the family 
— which is, I think, liberal." 

On the same date Rev. Dr. Reeves wrote to Gilbert — 
"Pigot, in stating the likely sum left by O'Curry, men- 
tioned to me only ^^300, insurance, and about £100^ salary 
due. But 1 mentioned to him that surely, in making an 
appeal, the estimated value of his manuscripts should not be 
omitted, and that in a rough way I would name £loo, for 
them ; so that £yoo, instead of £/^oo, should go before the 
public, unless, indeed, it was contemplated to make over the 
manuscripts to some public institution like the Academy, as 
a kind of consideration to the public for their response to the 
appeal, in which case the said intention should be set forth 
in the appeal. But if the family intended to make the manu- 
scripts a subject for the hammer or a private sale, that the 
estimated value should not be held back in stating O'Curry's 
pecuniary remains. ... In my opinion, the Academy would 
be the proper place of deposit, where O'Curry's dictionary 
materials would be side by side with O'Donovan's. I men- 
tioned the reasons why I supposed the £2^00 an approximate 
value, namely, that I believe his transcripts to be mostly 
from public manuscripts in T.C.D. and R.I. A, and that as re- 
garded the dictionary materials, I believed that the master-key 
to their opening being gone, they had lost much of their value. 
To use John D' Alton's words, *The ship gone down, and 
little more than the bill of lading remaining.' It is well 
that an exorbitant value should not be placed on these 
undigested jottings down, for in their present state they can 
be nothing more. But should the course which the family and 
functionaries of the Catholic University may adopt result in 
developing more value than I suppose, or expedite the realiza- 
tion of our Celtic dictionary hopes, I am sure I, for one, will 


most heartily rejoice ; (only let not the fact that they are to be 
manipulated be lost sight of;), and say if O'Curry's literary re- 
mains are to be deposited in a close institution which can afford 
to offer a higher price for the reliques than a national society 
or the public purse on behalf of that open and liberal deposi- 
tory. I hope you will approve of my views of these matters." 
On the next day Gilbert wrote — 

"My dear Reeves, 

" Nothing could be better than your letter on the 
O'Curry affairs, and the views you express are those which 
I am sure will be taken by Dr. Todd ; for my part, I coincide 
with them thoroughly. Pigot called on me to-day, and gave 
me your letter to him to read, and after a long talk I told 
him plainly, but in a friendly way, that I considered myself 
bound in honour to the Academy, and that if the decision 
were left solely in my hands between it and the Catholic 
University, I should unhesitatingly declare for the Academy." 

On the same day came the following from Rev. Dr. Todd ; — 

"My dear Gilbert, 

" A strong effort must be made to secure O'Curry's 
Glossarial collections, and to publish them with O'Donovan's 
just as they are. Upon them we must stand, if we would 
push our Irish publications much further. The editing of 
them will be a good school in which to educate a couple 
of young Irish scholars. 

" Faithfully yours, 

"J. H. Todd." 

Later Rev. Dr. Todd wrote — 

"I have written my statement of the negotiations for 
the O'Curry Manuscripts, and sent it to Mr. Haliday for his 
approval. I think it very desirable to avoid anything like 
a dispute or quarrel with the other party." 

On August 13, 1862, Rev. Dr. Reeves writes to Gilbert — 


" I hope that a vigorous move, such as you have initiated 
on a broad archaeological basis, may have the result of 
superintending any minor or less comprehensive proceeding 
in the matter of the O' Curry fund or the appropriation of his 
literary remains. I would, for my part, infinitely rather em- 
bark in an undertaking such as you propose than in one less 
Catholic, though perhaps having stronger claims to the title. 

"I had a letter from Dr. Todd yesterday. He repeats 
my sentiment that O'Curry's death is more to be deplored 
than the aged Primate's. When O'Curry and O'Donovan 
or either was to the fore, there was an oracle to consult in 
a difficulty ; and a man might tread with confidence, but 
now the way is dark and slippery. A new generation must 
be raised up, the materials for it must be sought in the rough 
quarry whence the great two were hewn. College men will 
never do : they will fly off at a tangent when professional 
attractions open to their view. Youthful peasants whose 
mother-tongue is Irish are the class among whom the future 
brehon must be sought in embryo. 

"As usual, you have given a generous response to my 
bibliographical cravings. I am truly obliged to you, and all 
I can do in return is to work pro bono Hiberno-Archmlogico* 
I intend to ask the Librarian of the Academy on Monday 
for the loan of some 'Acta Sanctorum' volumes, as I require 
their aid in my Martyrological work. Oh how I mourn over 
my folly in omitting to possess myself of Dr. Elrington's 
copy of the Bollandists when George Smith offered them 
to me for ^^"100 ! What grouting they would make for my 
shelves instead of the * Acta Diabolorum * of mercenary 
politicians, to which I am driven as a stop-gap. 

" I hope something may be done to secure Crowe's 
services. He is clever and well grounded, and I agree with 
you that a man who can manipulate the Leabhar-na- 
h'Uidhri ought to be able for less ponderous work, only 
he may set too high a price upon his abilities, and caw when 
a more dulcet note would be more satisfactory." 

About the same time Rev. Dr. Reeves wrote — 


" I received a note from Pigot a few days ago saying that 
a provisional committee had been named to conduct the 
movement for the O'Curry fund, and that my name was 
included, also that yours was on the list. I am content 
to be embarked with you in the matter, and I know that 
you will do all in your power to watch for the interests of 
the Academy, or rather the literary cause of which the 
Academy is the natural and most liberal guardian, without 
prejudice to the orphan family. The proposed trustees on 
Pigot's tentative list are Lord Talbot, the Chief Baron (Pigot), 
and Dr. Todd — a most unexceptionable combination. I hope 
and trust the matter will be worked on a good broad basis, 
as in O'Donovan's case, without tincture of party feeling or 
narrow interest. I am longing to hear of the arrival of the 
St. Isidore books, and if they are to be made the subject of 
a purchase for the Academy, I shall be delighted to be a 
subscriber to the best of my ability. At all events, I expect 
you will have a good deal to tell me when we meet, and a 
fair share of what is encouraging." 

Other excerpts from the numerous letters of the Rev. Dr. 
Reeves to Gilbert in this year are interesting — 

" I have been thinking over the matter of the proposed 
contents of the dictionary volume, and I think that such 
items as you propose would be ample for one issue. I 
suppose you could print the Cormac's Glossary with the 
Irish inter-paged. If so, would you take Stokes' (I suppose) 
immaculate text, or, would you transfer O'Donovan's ren- 
dering of it? I suppose his notes would accompany this. 
O'Donovan's supplemental words in his * O'Reilly' will run 
to a considerable length, because he always quotes the 
passage whence he derives his word. The ordnance volume 
glosses will be useful for topographical inquiry. I think it 
possible that among his papers may be found some materials 
for extending the volume. I think that everything of an 
ethnological character which you met with in his remains 
might be advantageously introduced. And thus you will have 
a right portly volume. If space permits, I think MacFirbis' 



exceedingly rare glossary should be included. O'Curry used 
to find very useful revelations in it. 

" There are some strange statements from time to time in 
the papers relative to the O'Curry Manuscripts. I am told 
that it was asserted that a gentleman connected with the 
Academy had offered £\^oo, for the collection! Is this 
Charles Haliday } If so, where is his discretion gone ? Or 
does he know of some pearls of great price being concealed 
in that literary field } The martyrology is going on. . . . I 
have ascertained that the red circles are on the maps of 1609. 
I remember stating that I did not believe they were raths 
or earthen forts, because, if they were, the townland names 
on which they stand would, in some cases at least, indicate 
by their composition an element of fortifications, and have 
' dun,' * rath,' * lis,' or some such Irish term in their com- 
position, which they have not. They are the bawns^ as I 
conjectured, of the undertakers, and this I have tested by 
the patents of James I. and by Pynnar's Survey. 

" I send by this post the * Potutus elegantissimus ' to 
Clibborn. It contains the autographs of his Grace of 
Armagh, his Celebrity of the Observatory, and his Humility 
of the Library. It would have gone by yesterday's post 
but that the Primate had gone to visit Lord Gosford. I 
had a very agreeable interview with him to-day, and we 
had much conversation on the subject of O'Donovan, the 
Academy, hagiology, and his own beautiful bronze swords, 
with his two holy bells, one of them St. Mogue's." 

From Rev, G, H. Forbes, 

"Burntisland, November 5, 1862. 
" I enclose a couple of lists of the few works we have 
printed here, and I shall have much pleasure in forwarding 
any of them to you. Although the ' Missal of Arbuthnot ' 
is only printed for subscribers, yet, as it has been some time 
at press, some of these have died, so that I shall probably 
have one or two copies at liberty. It will contain much 
curious and invaluable information about the old Irish 


liturgies, and will, I hope, be followed by the reprint of 
several other liturgical texts, of which the Pontifical of 
D. de Bernham, Archbishop of S. Andrew's, is now in hand. 

" I should be very thankful for any information you can 
furnish me with respecting the Irish Manuscripts of native 
rituals. The close connection between Scotland and Ireland 
makes me wish to learn more about them, in hopes of being 
able at some future time to take them up also." 

From William F, Skene^ D.C.L., LL,D. 

" Edinburgh. 

I have been engaged for the last two years in putting 
into shape the results of my researches into the early history 
of Scotland in a work called * Celtic Scotland,' two volumes 
of which have already appeared. The first volume deals with 
History and Ethnology, the second Church and Culture, and 
the third, upon which I am now engaged, will deal with Land 
and People. The facsimile of the ' Leabhar Breac ' came 
very apropos^ as it enabled me to add to the second volume 
a translation which Mr. Hennessy kindly made for me of the 
old Irish life of St. Columba in the ' Leabhar Breac' I 
learnt afterwards that Mr. Whitley Stokes has translated the 
same Life, but as it is privately printed, it is inaccessible to 
me. By the way, I think I can show who the author of this 
Life was. Is there any hope of the Royal Irish Academy 
giving us a facsimile of the ' Book of Armagh ' ? I am afraid 
it is hopeless now to look for Dr. Reeves' long-promised 
edition ; but a facsimile of this, in my opinion one of the 
most interesting and valuable manuscripts you have, would 
be an immense boon. I am glad that you have returned to 
Ireland in better health." 

In February, 1862, the President of the Royal Irish 
Academy wrote : — 

" Common Room, Trinity College, Dublin. 

My dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" The medals are to be presented on the 1 5th of 
March, Lord Carlisle attending. Would you kindly give me 


a few notes, so that I may say the most important things 
respecting the sources, the plan, and the execution of the 
* History of Dublin.' In particular I would wish to notice 
the parts in which there is most evidence of original research, 
or where current errors have been corrected. Your kind wish 
to help me in the performance of my duty and to facilitate 
my labours will, I trust, preponderate over the natural modesty 
which would render you indisposed to say anything about 
yourself and your work. 

" Yours faithfully, 

" Charles Graves." 


At the General Meeti?ig of the Academy ^ on March 16, 1862. 

Gentlemen, — One of the most important prerogatives and duties 
belonging to the Council of this Academy is the award of medals to 
the successful cultivators of those scientific and literary pursuits for 
the promotion of which the Academy was founded. We are now 
assembled for the purpose of carrying into effect resolutions adopted 
by the Council with reference to this matter towards the close of the 
past year; and to give greater solemnity to our proceedings, the 
Representative of the Queen has been pleased to honour our meeting 
with his presence. 

The Cunningham Gold Medal has been awarded to Mr. John T. 
Gilbert for his " History of the City of Dublin." In undertaking 
this history, Mr. Gilbert engaged in a task, the interest of which was 
equalled by its difficulty. In general, the historian derives help, in 
the execution of his work, from the labours of writers who have pre- 
ceded him. Though they may have left omissions to be supplied, 
and mistakes to be corrected, they have, at least, furnished a mass 
of authentic matter, the possession of which places him in a position 
more advantageous than that of writers who have to construct their 
narratives out of the crude materials gathered from primary sources, 
annals, laws, charters, and the incidental notices preserved in ancient 
documents and monuments of various kinds. But Mr. Gilbert owes 
nothing to earlier histories of Dublin. The first work on the subject 
was the imperfect attempt of Harris, published, in a small volume, 



most inaccurately, after his death, in 1766. On this it would be 
unfair to pronounce a severe criticism. The design of the author 
had been left very incomplete, and the office of attempting to fill the 
outline which he had traced was committed to an incompetent com- 
piler. So limited in extent was this small history of the city of 
Dublin, that but four pages of it were devoted to the description of 
St. Patrick's Cathedral and eighteen churches. The entire of Harris's 
imperfect and inaccurate little work was appropriated and reprinted 
verbatim^ without any acknowledgment, in 18 18, at London, by 
Whitelaw and Walsh, whose compilation is full of the most absurd 
errors. Some of the materials of their work were avowedly gathered 
from unsubstantiated oral communications, others were taken from 
printed guide-books of no authority. For instance^ the Annals of 
Dublin, from 1704, the period at which Harris ended, were re- 
printed without alteration from the concluding pages of a Dublin 
Almanac. Without exposing ourselves to the reproach of an undue 
civic vanity, we may assert that Dublin deserved to be made the 
subject of a history more elaborate and more authentic than the 
works of either Harris or Whitelaw and Walsh. The metropolis of 
Ireland possesses trustworthy annals which reach back for more than 
a thousand years, and has been the scene on which most famous 
men, Irish, Danes, Anglo-Normans, and English, have played their 
parts. A writer conscious of the dignity of his subject, and anxious 
to do it justice, would feel that very extensive researches should be 
made previous to commencing a history of Dublin. He would see 
the necessity of examining every printed book, pamphlet, or tract 
referring to events connected with the history of the city. He would 
understand the importance of investigating the charters and deeds of 
its churches, guilds, and corporations, together with the manuscripts 
in the libraries of Trinity College and the British Museum, the 
archives of the State Paper Office, and the unpublished records of 
the Law Courts of Dublin ; he would also make himself familiar with 
its streets, its public buildings, and its monuments. It is because 
Mr. Gilbert has given proofs of having used diligence and judgment 
in the collection of his materials from a vast variety of recondite 
sources, that his work has secured the approval of those who think 
that scientific accuracy is an essential element of literary excellence. 
Excluding uncertain or unverified statements, and abstaining from 
conjectures, he has founded his history solely on documentary evi- 
dence, the elaborately minute references to which, at the end of each 
volume, attest his industry and good faith. The writer of a work 


constructed on the plan of Mr. Gilbert's " History of Dublin" has 
occasion to display the most diversified information and research. 
He touches upon the general political history of the country in past 
centuries ; he introduces biographical notices of distinguished men ; 
he records and localizes interesting events in the history of religion, 
letters, science, and art. In each of these departments the reader 
will find in Mr. Gilbert's History new and precise information, not 
to be met with elsewhere in print. As illustrating the wide range of 
subjects treated of under their respective localities, I may cite the 
account of the Tribe of MacGillamocholmog (vol. i., p. 230), traced 
through unpublished Gaelic and Anglo-Irish records from the remote 
origin of the family to its extinction in the fifteenth century \ while, 
as a specimen of the work in a totally different department, I may 
refer to the history of Crow-street Theatre, as giving the only accu- 
rate details hitherto published of that once-noted establishment, 
verified by original documents never before printed, from the auto- 
graph of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and other dramatic celebrities. 
Mr. Gilbert has interwoven in his work numerous original biogra- 
phies of eminent natives of Dublin. He has supplied notices of 
painters, engravers, and medallists, with catalogues of their works, 
never before collected, and not to be found even in books specially 
treating of these subjects. He has given us a history of the Parliament 
of Ireland and the Parliament House ; he has recorded the origin and 
progress of the Royal Dublin Society, the College of Physicians, and 
the Royal Irish Academy ; he has also introduced notices of remark- 
able literary works published in Dublin, with information respecting 
their authors. A complete analysis of Mr. Gilbert's volumes would 
bring into view other interesting classes of subjects which I have left 
unmentioned ; but my enumeration of the topics treated of in the 
work is sufficiently ample to show that it embraces a most extensive 
field. To combine such multifarious details into a narrative attrac- 
tive to a general reader, and at the same time satisfactory to the 
historical inquirer, seeking precise and authentic information, was 
not an easy task. Mr. Gilbert is acknowledged to have succeeded 
eminently in attaining this twofold object. He has produced a work 
which has been, and will continue to be, read with interest, and 
referred to as an authority, not only by partial friends and brother 
Academicians, but by all who may, in our own time or in future 
generations, study the history and antiquities of the city of Dublin. 

On presenting the Medal, the President said — 

Mr. Gilbert, — I present to you the medal which the Council 



of the Royal Irish Academy has awarded to you as the author of 
a scholarUke work on the History of Dublin. You have removed 
from Ireland the national reproach of having no history of its 
Metropolis. The volumes which you have produced furnish accurate 
and copious information on the history of every part of the city of 
which they treat. Let me express the hope that the sympathy in 
your labours shown by this Academy will encourage you to continue 
them. To the exertions made by you and our late President, Dr. 
J. H. Todd, as Honorary Secretaries of the Irish Archaeological and 
Celtic Society, it is mainly owing that the latter body has been, for 
many years past, enabled to continue its labours in pubHshing various 
works of the utmost importance on the history of Ireland. You have 
proved your zeal in the cause of Irish history ; you are acquainted 
with its sources and its materials. We have, therefore, good reason 
to indulge the hope that you will supply some of its many and 
acknowledged wants. ^ 

From Rev. Dr, Reeves, 

" I send my Culdee fasciculus to you. It is not polished 
off, but it is sufficiently prepared to serve as a standard of 
the length and nature of the paper. ... A good deal of the 
matter in the Appendix has never been printed, but in the 
Scotch portion the principal extracts are from works printed 
by the Bannatyne Club, which, though well known in Scot- 
land, are unknown comparatively in this country, Dean 
Butler's set of the Chartularies being the only copies in all 
Ireland. The abstracts from these books are necessary to 
the argument, but being condensed, and accompanied with 
my notes, they are to a certain extent original. I am anxious 
that my essay should be a final one on the subject, and, to 
this end, that all the scattered evidence should be brought 
together into one body." (Three days later.) — " Thanks for 
your kind offices in the matter of the Culdee paper. As soon 
as I have weighed the matter I shall have some consultation 
with you. Can you come to Armagh on next Saturday 
week ? A mouthful of Ultonian air will do you good." 

* Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, vol. viii,, pp. 101-104. 



From the Same. 

" As I was leaving town I carried away the parcel you 
left for me, and, to beguile time in the train, I opened it, and, 
to my surprise, found the famous * Opuscula S. P.' included. 
I cannot tell you how much I am obliged to you for this very 
valuable gift, and, above all, for the very thoughtful and self- 
denying way in which you have taken my commission to be 
on the look-out for the book. I am sorry for one thing, 
which is the subtraction of it from your choice library, for 
I know how hard it is often to fill up a blank, even though of 
a small book. But bearing in mind your love of books, and 
especially the gems of Irish letters, I cannot but feel that the 
sacrifice indicates an amount of friendship which I duly prize. 
Jack^ and Fanny cannot write to return their thanks, but 
they bid me give their thanks to good Mr. Gilbert. I also 
return my grateful acknowledgments for the Interleaved 
Poems. I write in great haste to catch the poste volante, so 
excuse a rough scribble and hasty but sincere sentiments." 

Fro7n the Same. 

" Start at 8.30 a.m., and have some time on that day to 
look about you. You have not only to make a fair acquaint- 
ance with the books, but you must see the Navan and the 
spot where Marshal Bagenal fell ; and though the objects of 
interest are not so numerous as at Oxford, still you must 
avoid everything like an approach to so confused a picture 
as Verdant Green's * Serisorium,' presented to him on the 
evening of his * doing the guide-book ' at that city." 

From Rev. James Graves. 

" I have not yet seen poor O'Donovan's last work, the 
* Topographical Poems.' By all means send me the Academy's 

_ a kind note to the biographer, the late Colonel John Reeves speaks of 

his delight as a small boy at receiving a copy of " Robinson Crusoe " from his 
father's friend. 



notice to ' finders of Articles of Antiquity in Ireland/ and it 
shall have a place in the forthcoming number of our Journal. 
. . . Dr. Reeves mentioned some time ago that Dr. Todd had 
opened out a regular gold-mine at St. Isidore's, and that 
steps were taken to have copies made. What is doing, can 
you tell me ? Also tell me, if you can, what has been done 
to supply O'Donovan's place on the Brehon Laws Commis- 
sion ? I hope some one will be appointed capable of con- 
tinuing the work, and that no jobbery will be perpetrated.'* 

From the Same, 

" I am sorry to hear of jobbery creeping into the Brehon 
Laws Commission. Surely my namesake, or Todd, would 
never consent to any such thing. Then there are Lord 
Dunraven and Lord Talbot de Malahide, if I mistake not, on 
the Commission, whose names ought to be a warrant against 
any such thing. . . . Alas, that O'Donovan should be so 
soon forgotten ! " 

From H. A. Prim, 

" Kilkenny. 

" May I ask you to add my mite to the fund for the 
family of poor Dr. O'Donovan, whose death I look upon as 
the greatest misfortune Ireland has sustained within the last 
century at least." 

Dr. Wilde writes — 

" I saw Sir Bernard Burke at the lev^ to-day, who attacked 
me for not having retained his and Lord Farnham's name 
upon the O'Donovan committee. He had sent us a message 
by Mr. Edmond O'Donovan, son of our late friend, stating 
what he and Lord Farnham intended to do in the matter. 
I have written to G. O.'D. to call and explain the matter to 
you to-morrow morning. Sir B. B. also stated that he was 
pressing forward the memorial for the Pension. We should, 
I think, summon our committee at least once a week, and 
you are most welcome to meet here." 



From W. H. Hardinge, 

" Landed Estates Record Office, Dublin, March, 1862. 

"It is cheering to see a Librarian of the Royal Irish 
Academy, and one so competent also, take such an interest 
in ascertaining the nature and value of the jewels in his 
charge, and exerting his talents in arranging and making 
them acceptable to all who may consult them. 

**This used not to be the case, and you will excuse the 
novelty forcing this expression of my feelings from me. 

"The manuscript you sent me of the capitulation articles 
for the surrender of Irish towns, and other curious remem- 
brances of the period of the Commonwealth of England 
relating to this country, was very agreeable to my eyes, as no 
matter when, where, or from whom that manuscript was 
obtained, it is, so far as it goes, a transcript of a volume of 
the Committee or Commonwealth of the Parliament of Eng- 
land for the affairs of Ireland, which, after the Restoration 
of Charles the Second, came, with other interesting volumes 
of this celebrated printer, to the possession of the Auditor- 
General of the Court of Exchequer, and, after the abolish- 
ment of that office, passing through sundry other custodies, 
is now in my custody in this office, together with all other 
the Auditor's records. Our loose transcript relating to 
Innis Buffyn will be found in its proper page (100) of the 
manuscripts. I have carefully collated the manuscript with 
the original volume, and find many important and most 
interesting omissions, the particulars of which I enclose on a 
separate slip. . . . The manuscript was made some 40 or 
50 years ago by my brother, who was engaged under the 
Irish Record Commission . . . and by right should have 
been found amongst the unpublished manuscript papers left 
by that Commission, and remaining deposited at the Record 
Tower, Lower Castle Yard, in the custody of Sir Bernard 
Burke. How it escaped from that depository is a marvel to 
me, but I rejoice to find that, after its peregrinations, it has 


at last arrived at a Rest where the public may consult it, and 
also rest satisfied of its future security." 

From Dr, Wilde, 

" The R. C. Bishop of Clonfert, Dr. Derry, has sent me 
the piece of gold referred to in his former letter ... a frag- 
ment of an armilla, perfect at one end but rudely cut off at 
the other, and I think the incision and hammering in that 
portion is antient. I would have bound up Parts I. and II. 
of the Catalogue long ago could I have first attained two 
objects — procured from Clibborn and from the publishers an 
account, and have got in the woodcuts of iron and silver still 
remaining with Oldham." 

From Rev, Dr, Reeves, 

"The Vicarage, Lusk, 1862. 
" I have just received your letter, and hasten to say in 
reply that I will be happy to go on Monday to Mrs. 
O'Donovan's to examine and take charge of the doctor's 
manuscripts and annotated books. I will write to the widow 
by this post to prepare her for the visit. I think it will be 
well for you to meet me at the house. Dr. Todd and I had a 
conversation about O'Donovan's copy of Colgan, and his 
opinion was that £2^, might advantageously be put upon the 
work as a price. Thereupon I wrote to Armagh, and I am 
authorized by the Most Rev. Primate to offer that sum in his 
name in order to it being added to the collection of the 
Armagh Library. I think W. E. Hudson paid about £22^ 
for it. My noble copy cost £2/^. So that I think ;^25 is a 
very liberal price for O'Donovan's copy, which is a rather 
rusty one." 

The following to Gilbert is from a well-remembered Irish 
patriot and poet : — 



From Thomas D'Arcy McGee, 

"Quebec, August 16, 1862. 

"My dear Sir, 

" Your note of the 31st of July with the sad news 
of our venerable and matchless friend O'Curry's death, reached 
me a day or two after I had learned the sad news from another 
source. I hope to carry out successfully my project of a 
lecture for the O'Donovan fund, which miscarried last spring 
through an untimely storm. Pray accept my most sincere 
thanks for your valuable articles on O'Donovan's life and 
O'Curry's book. It is some consolation to a devotee of 
everything Irish like myself to know that there are still left 
some men in Ireland capable of continuing the work of those 
devoted scholars. It grieves one to think how little this 
generation seems to understand its true interests in our native 
land ; but the unparalleled self-sacrifice of a few gifted men 
will make them a History, in spite of the present malign 
influences. ... 

" Very truly your obliged and obedient 

" Thomas D'Arcy McGee." 

Among his other undertakings of the year 1862, Gilbert 
wrote for " Chambers' Encyclopaedia " two articles, on the early 
history and state of Ireland, and on the Irish language and 
literature, at the suggestion of his friend Rev. Dr. Reeves. 

From Rev. Dr. Reeves. 

"The Library, Armagh, October 17, 1862. 
"The enclosed note was sent to me by Joseph Robertson, 
of the General Register House, Edinburgh. I mentioned to 
him that I had a friend in Dublin who could execute the 
work in a masterly manner, if he could be persuaded to take 
it in hands. In writing to you I now fulfil the promise of 
applying to that friend, who, I hope, will rescue our national 
credit from the hands of some rough and ignorant adven- 
turers. You have taste and judgment and knowledge to 
give grace and solidity to the subject." 



From A. Findlater, Editor of Chambers 
Encyclopcedia. " 

" 339> High Street, Edinburgh, October 31, 1862. 

" What is wanted is a sketch of the early history of 
Ireland to form part of the general article on that country, 
and a notice of the Irish language and literature to form 
a separate article. The history should embrace the chief 
points considered by learned inquirers to be established, regard- 
ing the ethnology of the early inhabitants, their condition, 
the introduction of Christianity, the aggressions and coloniza- 
tions by the Northmen and by the English, etc., continued 
down to the reign of James I., when the history of the country 
falls into the current of that of the United Kingdom. As to 
the Irish language (Celtic), it should be taken up at the point 
where it is left in the article * Celtic Nations ' (of which a copy 
is herewith sent), and such characteristics given as would be 
interesting to a student of comparative philology who had no 
special acquaintance with Irish. The extent to which it is 
still spoken and written should be noticed. In regard to the 
literature, the chief books and documents should be noted and 
briefly characterized." 

From the Same, 

" 339) High Street, Edinburgh, November 4. 

" I am glad you have undertaken to write on Irish 
antiquities and language, etc. If there are any serious 
inaccuracies in the Irish portion of the article on ' Celtic 
Nations,' all that can be done is to correct them in the 
stereotype plate for any future impression that may be 
needed. I am sorry we had not your assistance regarding 



From Rev, Dr. Reeves. 

"The Library, Armagh, October 27, 1862. 
" I hope to be in Dublin on Monday next. . . It seems 
to me an age since we were assembled in Dawson Street. 
I received yours of the i8th telling me of your doings at 
the committee meeting. Haliday deserves all credit and 
the best thanks of all well-wishers to Irish literature, but 
I suppose that ;^50OO would not have bought the O'Curry 
papers, so determined were the Catholic literati to secure 
them. How they will doctor up the matter I know not, but 
one thing is certain, they have effectually frustrated any 
successful effort to benefit O'Curry's family by a public 
appeal. There was an article on the subject in the Dublin 
Evening Mail of Saturday, and it is quite clear that the 
matter is not likely to pass by sub silentio. I wish poor 
Anthony O'Curry had had the courage at the start to assert 
and exercise his powers as executor, and open a fair field for 

From Rev. C. P. Meehan. 

" Be kind enough to let me know by this day's posty does 
the * Liber Breac * contain a Litany, or anything like a Litany 
of the B.V.M. } Dr. C. and Dr. M. quote the ' Lib. Breac,' and 
state that O'Curry found it there." 

From Rev. Dr. Reeves. 

" The Library, Armagh, January i, 1863. 
" We Protestants of the North are wont to call the Society 
for the Propagation of the Gospel, our Propaganda, the 
S.P.G. for brevity's sake. Though you are not a member of 
it, I heartily wish you and yours to be partakers of the 
S.P.G. in the form of Salus^ PaXy GraiicBy for 1863, and 
in ScBciila. 

" I return you Pigot's letter. He comes too late in my 



humble opinion, and it would be injurious and suicidal as 
regards our glossarial being to alter the arrangements that 
have been entered on. What signifies £200, in cash, if it 
becomes two hundred tons in weight upon the shoulders of 
energy and progress ? 

A dead lock is to be avoided, and therefore I say, give 
me struggling but healthy poverty, rather than the riches 
which paralyze exertion. I need say no more as to my vote 
in the question." 

In 1863 Gilbert made an attempt to interest Government 
in the publication of a collection of original documents 
illustrative of the history of Dublin from the eleventh to the 
sixteenth century ; but this he failed to accomplish. 

The following is a copy of the letter on the subject 
received by him from the Master of the Rolls in England : — 

"Rolls House [London], July 20, 1863. 

" After carefully considering your letter I am 
apprehensive that unless you can give a more extended 
scope to the documents you propose to edit, the proposed 
work would be too much of a local character and not sufficiently 
historical for the purpose for which the Government Grant is 

"Mr. Riley's work to which you refer (as somewhat 
analogous to that you propose) although bearing upon the 
history of London proper, was undertaken solely with a view 
of illustrating the History of Trade, Commerce and Secular 
Guilds, and he was scrupulously guarded from wandering into 
so wide a field as a compilation of documents bearing merely 
on History of London, otherwise his work would have 
extended to dimensions far beyond what would have been 
considered suitable to the plan approved by the Government. 
Having considered Mr. Riley's work had dealt with this 
particular subject at sufficient length I felt it necessary 
to bring it to a close, although a great mass of additional 



documents relative to the same subject exists which Mr. 
Riley was desirous to edit. The Parliamentary Grant was 
given for the purpose of publishing chronicles and memorials 
illustrative of general history and not of any particular 
places or subjects unless bearing upon general history such as 
Education, Commerce, Science, and Law, avoiding as much 
as possible any distinct class such as Topography or mere 
Antiquarianism. If you could obtain materials tending to 
the elucidation of these subjects, particularly as relating 
to Ireland, I should be very glad to give further consideration 
to your proposition. But the documents contained in your 
list, though valuable enough, so far as the City of Dublin and 
its history are concerned, seem scarcely of sufficient national 
importance considering them as regards a History of Ireland 
alone to interest the public generally, and they seem more 
properly to belong to the appendix to the three volumes of 
the History of Dublin which you have already published. 
" I am your obedt. servt., 

"John Romilly. 

" J. T. Gilbert, Esqr." 


I 863- I 866 

" Record Revelations by an Irish Archivist" — Commission of Inquiry — 
Member of the Royal DubHn Society — History of the Viceroys of 
Ireland — Letters. 

In 1863 Gilbert published the "Record Revelations by an 
Irish Archivist." The " Revelations " appeared first in a series 
of papers in the Dublin Review, which were reprinted in 
form of a pamphlet, and in 1864 the whole, revised and 
enlarged, was issued in a volume, under the title of " On the 
History, Position, and Treatment of the PubHc Records of 
Ireland." The matter of the publication was of the greatest 
interest to all engaged in work requiring accuracy in the 
treatment of historical records. The motto of the book was 
as follows : — 

" Truth is to be sought only by slow and painful progress : 
error is in its nature flippant and compendious ; it hops, with 
airy and fastidious levity, over proofs and arguments, and 
perches upon assertion, which it calls conclusion. 


" Master of the Rolls of Ireland!^ 

In his preface " the Archivist " writes — 

" The interest with which these treatises were received, 
the exhaustion of the first edition, and the appearance of a 
third defective Calendar, at the public expense, from the 
source whence emanated the two volumes here analyzed, have 




led to the present republication, with a view of placing per- 
manently before the world an exposition of the Record 
System sought to be imposed on Ireland, in opposition to 
the protest and disapprobation of every Irish Archivist. . . . 
The details in the ensuing pages connected with the Irish 
Archives may be serviceable in guiding the public respecting 
the steps proper to be taken with reference to the promised 
Governmental concentration of the Records in a general 
Repository at Dublin, in the construction and arrangement 
of which an attempt appears to have been projected to 
maintain the discreditable system developed in the so- 
called Calendars of Patent and Close Rolls of Chancery in 

" On the proper organization and competent management 
of this general Record Repository must mainly depend the 
future usefulness of the Public Muniments of this part of 
the Empire ; and until this concentration has been effected 
in the most complete and scientific manner, under skilful 
Archivists, all attempts at the production of Calendars must 
be imperfect and misleading. Such was the case of Calendars 
of Rolls published in England early in the present century, 
which, since the completion of proper Record arrangements, 
have been superseded by works superior in completeness and 

"The interests involved in this matter are not solely 
historical or antiquarian. They concern a vast number 
of individuals connected with Great Britain as well as Ire- 
land, by birth or property. Five-sixths of the surface of 
Ireland having at various periods passed from the Crown 
to the subject, it is to the records of such grants and the 
collateral evidence, extant among our ancient muniments, 
that inquirers must direct their researches in cases of property 
and title. 

" Regarding the question from a literary point of view, it 
becomes apparent that, until the Irish Records have been 
made available, we shall have in vain to expect an accurate 
or reliable history of Great Britain and Ireland. On this 



point Mr. H. C. Hamilton, in his preface to a Calendar pub- 
lished in i860 by the authority of the Treasury, under the 
direction of the Master of the Rolls in England, correctly 
observes — 

" * The history of the inhabitants of the whole of the 
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland is, and always 
has been, from the earliest times, so intimately connected, 
that it is impossible to study the progress of any one portion 
without that of the rest ; but still the details of the great 
events and leading historical catastrophes of several of the 
grander sections of the Empire are so diffuse and extensive 
that they are well classed and studied in separate divisions 
of the same whole.* 

" During the last twenty years many scholars, who by 
special studies had qualified themselves to edit the Anglo- 
Irish Records, were allowed to pass away unappreciated by 
Government, and it required strong devotion to maintain 
a worthy succession in a field so unproductive of substantial 
recognition. That the true spirit of learning has survived 
even such discouragements in Ireland is evinced by the 
fact that the exertions of a few individuals have enabled 
the Irish Archaeological Society to continue its labours to 
the present day. Of all the publishing bodies of these 
kingdoms, says a late writer in Blackwood's Edinburgh 
Magazine^ the Irish Archaeological Society is *the most 
learned.' The labour and the merit of producing such 
' wonderfully learned editions ' as those printed by this Irish 
Society, are, adds the same author, * almost beyond practical 
appreciation.' ^ 

" On the Continent such works have long been executed 
at Government expense, as they are of a class unremunerative 
to private publishers. The Continental example has been 
followed tardily in England by the annual grants made 
during the last five years for the works entitled ' Chronicles 
and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland,' and * Calendars 
of State Papers,' published by the authority of the Lords 

' Blackwood's Magazine^ vol, xc. p. 458 ; xci. pp. 319-325. 



Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, under the direc- 
tion of the Master of the Rolls of England. Under this 
grant ... 71 volumes have been published, at a cost of 
^35>50o. . . . Not one of these seventy-one volumes was 
committed to the editorial care of any scholar in Ireland. . . . 

"As we can hardly suppose the existence of a determina- 
tion to exclude Ireland from her due share of an allocation 
expressly made for Great Britain and Ireland, we may con- 
clude that the administrators of this grant in England have 
found a difficulty in dealing with Irish Archaeological sub- 
jects, which differ essentially from those with which English 
Archivists are conversant. 

"The object of the grant might therefore be promoted by 
placing the portions of it intended for Ireland annually under 
the control of the Committee of Antiquities of the Royal 
Irish Academy, in conjunction with the Council of the Irish 
Archaeological and Celtic Society, and the Archivists who 
may be entrusted with the management of the Record Reposi- 
tory at Dublin. Thus all desirable work in this direction 
could be executed in a few years in a style creditable to the 
Empire and beneficial to the public. 

"The treatment of the Irish Public Records brought 
under notice in the following pages is, however, but a sec- 
tion of the system Governmentally pursued of late years 
towards Ireland, with regard to grants for various branches 
of science. 

" The period when the interest of the scholars of the 
world centred in the surviving ancient Gaelic monuments of 
Ireland, was that chosen by Government for the abolition of 
the Professorships of the Celtic languages in the Irish Queen's 
Colleges ; and, while for some time past the Parliamentary 
grants to the British Museum have averaged annually nearly 
;^ 100,000, those to the Royal Irish Academy, incorporated 
under Royal Charter for promoting the cultivation of the 
higher departments of science, literature, and archaeology, have 
been but £^00, per annum, or £\66 13^. 4^/. respectively, for 
the advancement of each of these three branches of knowledge 



throughout Ireland, which is in extent about one-fourth of 
the United Kingdom, contributing to the Imperial Exchequer 
a direct annual revenue of above seven millions sterling ! 

" The present treatise, while directing attention to subjects 
hitherto comparatively obscure, may, perhaps, be deemed 
to possess some general interest, as an exposition of trans- 
actions in connection with the law of mental property, and 
the treatment of records, unparalleled in the literary or 
archivistic annals of these kingdoms." 

Gilbert's object in calling public attention to the defective 
treatment of Irish Records was, not to depreciate the work 
of individuals employed by the Rolls Office, but to effect a 
thorough change of method, by means of which the publica- 
tion of careless and imperfect work would be rendered 
impossible. In this he was happily successful. On July i6, 
1863, a discussion on the subject of the " Record Revelations " 
was held in the House of Commons, and the first result was 
seen in the appointment of a committee to inquire into the 
state of the matter. Some time later a Commission ^ was held 
in Dublin, Messrs. Thomas Duffus Hardy and J. S. Brewer 
being the Commissioners, to investigate all matters pertain- 
ing to the editing and publication of Irish Records. In the 
report of the Commissioners the accuracy of Calendars already 
published was not impugned ; but the result of the Com- 
mission was the organization of a Public Record Office for 
Ireland. While in Dublin on this business, Mr. (afterwards 
Sir Thomas) Hardy, who had thoroughly appreciated the 
ability and motives of the " Irish Archivist," sought the 
acquaintance of Gilbert, and thus began a warm friendship, 
which lasted unbroken until the death of Sir Thomas, in 

^ July 29, 1864. Dublin. — Messrs. T. Duffus Hardy and J. S. Brewer, by 
directions of Sir John Romilly, Master of the Rolls, England, commenced at the 
Rolls Office, Dublin, the examination of the documents in presence of Mr. James 
Morrin. Later, they presented their report to the Treasury, which report was 
printed on February 17, 1865. 



From W. H. Hardinge. 

" 23, Northumberland Street, Strand, London, 

"May 12, 1864. 

" I called on Hardy and Brewer, and they were delighted 
to see me. They know very well that you are the Irish 
Archivist, and, of course, though I could not confirm their 
intelligence, I did not deny it. I merely said that the 
author was unknown, but that I was well acquainted with 
Mr. Gilbert, and was persuaded he had all the ability, and 
far more, than the authorship of that publication required. 
I also said that, officially, I made use of the Calendars, and 
knew that what the Archivist had stated was more than 
borne out by the errors and omissions I have discovered. 
They admitted that there should be an inquiry by reference 
to the Rolls of Chancery, and said that the matter should 
be conducted by three persons — one to be selected by the 
Treasury, one by the Master of the Rolls, and one as a 
casting vote. 

"This looks like business. They said the book would 
have been more telling if it had less of sarcasm in it. My 
reply to that was that I knew, if you were the author, that 
you had but one object — a full, fair, and searching inquiry, 
that justice might prevail for the benefit of the literary and 
general public. I was perfectly sure that your motive was 
free from any animosity whatever." 

From Rev, James Graves. 

"Rectory, Inisnag, Stoneyford. 

" I shall look out for the second series of ' Record Reve- 
lations.' If it surpasses the first in damaging disclosures, 
it will be worth reading. I shall not fail to let you know 
of all treasure trove. Would there be any chance of the 
Academy's getting up a fund (special) for the exploration of 



crannogues? Du Noyer would do it for his expenses. It 
is a shame we are doing nothing to examine these rich 
mines of antiquities, and leaving them to be *howked' up 
by the dealers. Many were explorable during the last dry 

The following passages, taken from the Irish Times and 
Dublin Evening News, show the feeling in Ireland on the 
Commission and its cause. The Irish Times writes on 
March 13, 1865— 

"Some time since an Irish archivist, the author of a 
publication entitled ' Record Revelations,' startled literary 
society in Dublin, no less by his extraordinary ability and 
his profound archaeological research, than by his crushing 
criticism upon the * Irish Calendars,' edited by Mr. Morrin, 
under the patronage of the Master of the Rolls. The Irish 
archivist accused Mr. Morrin of inaccuracy, omission, error, 
and plagiarism. The ability displayed in the pamphlet, and 
the deep interest it excited, not only here but in the sister 
country, induced the Government to appoint two eminent 
English archaeologists, Messrs. Brewer and Hardy, as Com- 
missioners to test the truth of the charges, by comparing 
the original documents with the work of Mr. Morrin. The 
Commissioners were gentlemen of high reputation, as archi- 
vists, in London ; but it is strange that to decide upon the 
accuracy or inaccuracy of a translation of Irish Records 
relating to Irish lands, tenures, habits, persons, and anti- 
quities, English antiquarians were selected. We have the 
Royal Irish Academy, one special and important department 
of which is devoted to the elucidation of Irish antiquities 
and Irish records. 'Record Revelations' alone proved that 
v/e had amongst ourselves gentlemen familiar with all that 
relates to archaeological studies, and especially with Irish 
records. It would have been much more satisfactory to the 
Irish public that one of the Commissioners, at least, should 
have been an 'Irish archivist' The Government, however, 
thought it expedient to employ two Englishmen, and we can 



now only prepare them for a criticism from the pen of the 
author of * Record Revelations.' They have, as they suppose, 
detected some 'inaccuracies' in his pamphlet, but we are 
much mistaken if he does not criticize their report with the 
vigour, ability, and fearlessness which made his pamphlet 
one of the most remarkable publications of our day." 

The Dublin Evening Mail ends a long article on the 
Report of the Commission of Inquiry, in which it complains 
of the expenditure of public money on such commissions — 

"We ought not to close without stating that Messrs. 
Brewer and Hardy bear the highest testimony to the learn- 
ing and literary power of the * Irish Archivist.' ' In fact,* 
they say, *we do not remember to have seen, in England 
or Ireland, any work of the same nature, in which so much 
critical knowledge of this kind has been displayed, or which 
indicates a greater familiarity with archaeological studies.' " 

From Rev, Dr, Reeves, 

"The Library, Armagh, January 23, 1863. 

" Should to-morrow be the last day of sub-recommenda- 
tion, I would urge on you the nomination in the Department 
of Antiquities of Dr. Ferdinand Keller, of Zurich, who has 
done so much for Ireland in his development of the Irish 
Manuscripts in Switzerland, and the interest he has always 
taken in the archaic literature of the country. 

"Among our fellow-subjects there is no man who has 
more enthusiastically espoused our Antiquarian cause than 
Professor James Young Simpson, of Edinburgh. The annexa- 
tion of his name to our list would do honour to our Society, 
while it would greatly gratify him, and the result of his 
election would, I am persuaded, very much further the cause 
of Celtic antiquities. There are also in Scotland, Cosmo 
Innes, Professor of History in the Edinburgh University ; 
John Stuart, Secretary of the Society of Antiquaries of 
Scotland, of the Spalding Club ; and that matchless man, 
Joseph Robertson, of the General Register House Any of 



these last might also appear with advantage on the Polite 
Literature list. 

" Now for self. Am I right in attributing a very kindly- 
article in the Evening Mail, touching the Ecclesiastical His- 
tory chair and my candidateship, to John Gilbert ? On reading 
it I said, * A friend hath done this/ and no common friend. 
I verily believe that the donor of the ' Opuscula S. Patricii ' 
has, in his brotherly kindness, magnified the Opuscula of 
W. R. into dimensions the statement of which is very gratify- 
ing, and more an object of aspiration than actual perform- 
ance. At all events, my dear Gilbert, I don't put such an 
act past you." 

From the Same, 

"February i, 1863. 
"I am entirely of opinion that the Committee should 
transfer the Hudson fund to the Council of the Celtic and 
Archaeological Society, in trust for the printing of Cormac's 
Glossary or other work of Irish Lexicography, with power, 
however, to the Council to employ it in aid of producing 
such an Irish Dictionary as O'Reilly augmented from Con- 
nellan and O'Donovan. And this done, that the Committee 
should dissolve itself, and for its passing shadow substitute 
the substantial permanence of the Archaeological and Celtic 

From Rev. y. Graves, 

"Duncannon, New Ross, February 7, 1863. 

" Many thanks for your note about the Council Chamber. 
Any information as to the constitution of the Irish Council 
previous to or in the reign of Richard III., other than what 
is given in Lynch, Mason, and the published Calendar of the 
Rolls of Chancery, will greatly oblige. 

"When are we to expect the next Archaeological and 
Celtic Book? I had an anxious inquiry on the subject this 


day from Professor Stephens of Copenhagen. He wants to 
purchase Reeves' * St. Columba.' Has no one given White- 
side what he deserves — a good castigation, for his shameless 
falsification of Irish History ? He is too clever to be 

From the Same. 

" Chelsea Lodge, Duncannon, New Ross, 

"February 8, 1863. 

" I wonder you don't take up some work under the 
Master of the Rolls. Look at Riley's volumes from the 
Corporation Records of London. Surely the Dublin Cor- 
poration Records are equally worthy of preservation, and 
I have no doubt but you could bring enough of pressure 
on the Master of the Rolls to get the work sanctioned. 

" I have been told by Dr. Aquilla Smith that the Dublin 
Corporation Records are a mine of unwrought riches. Whilst 
the cash is going we ought to try and get some work done 
for our Irish ' Materials of History.' " 

From the Same, 

" Chelsea Lodge, Duncannon, New Ross, 

" February 13, 1863. 

"Your labours are Herculean. I hope you may have 
good success in all, and get credit for same : which later 
result I know from experience is not very sure to follow. 

"You ought, though not ready yet, to set to work to 
secure the appointment of Editor of the Corporation Records ^ 
whilst the money lasts. Who knows how soon Gladstone 
may put a stopper on it! Lose no time, if you are wise, 
and attack Sir John Romilly with all the influence (of rank, 
as well as Hterary) you can command. Did the little map 
in the pocket-book prove of any use or interest? There 
are faint letterings round the margin, here and there, which 
I was able to read with a glass." 

^ This work was not undertaken by the Government, but was later begun by 
the Municipal Council of Dublin, at whose expense it is still carried on. 



From Rev, Dr. Reeves, 

"The Library, Armagh, February ii, 1863. 

"Many thanks, my dear Gilbert, for the great literary 
treat you have afforded me in the reading of the Munich 
book. It is a gem in its way, and a most valuable acqui- 
sition to our store at the Academy. 

Possibly it is the very copy which Thorpe offered for 
£2 2s., and which, after passing through divers hands, has 
come to yours. I cannot discover any notice of SS. Marinus 
and Amanus in any Calendar or other book accessible to 
me. Mabillon does not mention them, unless he confounds 
Marinus with a saint of the same name who was a hermit, 
and slain by the Vandals in Burgundy about 732, but whose 
day was the 24th of November, not the 15th, which is our 
saints' day. 

"The monastery of Rott, olirn Rota, is situate on the 
west bank of the -^nus, or CEnus, now the Inn, near 
Rosenheim, on the north, to the S.E. of Munich. It was 
a Benedictine house founded by Conon, Earl of Wasserburg, 
in 1073. Mabillon visited it in his literary travels. I 
think I might make a neat paper on the subject for next 
meeting of the Academy, and, if you have no objection, I 
will ask leave on Monday to read it. The subject is so new, 
and the accession to our foreign relations so valuable, that 
it ought at once to be recorded. 

" I am truly delighted with this most delectable book. 
Long life to the Academy Librarian for securing it. What 
is the English equivalent for b^tjb^tj ? It is the diminutive 
for bdrjb. Opposite the name poor O'Donovan has written 
in Feilire ' Pigotte' Well, S. Banbhan should yield to the 
voice of the Archaeological Council, and without a murmur 
allow the Sdtj4^ b4tjb-^jr) to pass into working hands. I do 
hope this will be the upshot of Monday's measures. 

" I am full of delight with SS. Marinus and Amanus. I 
have found another reference to the two saints in Aventinus." 



From the Same, 

"The Library, Armagh, February 20, 1863. 

" My dear Gilbert, 

" I have read the proof with the greatest interest, 
and I congratulate you heartily upon your successful handling 
of so complicated a subject. The article is one which every 
lover of Erin must admire ; it is so true, modest, and yet so 
indicative of varied and best-class information. Personally 
I don't object to your mode of treating the introduction of 
Protestantism into Ireland ; but, query, may you not, as the 
article is for a mixed public, somewhat mitigate what is said ? 
As regards my own feelings, I am quite satisfied with the 
manner in which you handled the whole matter, and if you 
have given a slap at the Aughrim interference in Ireland, you 
have at least given an equivalent in acknowledging the Papal 
introduction of the wedge. I may also add that I never read 
proofs in such a high state of finish, both as regards diction 
and composition. 

"The Book of Armagh is now nearly ready for the 
launch. ... I intend to print in the first volume the whole 
Patrician matter (48 pages) exactly as it stands in the origi- 
nal, i.e. so far as pages, columns, and lines go ; but I must 
abandon the contractions and other peculiarities of this sort, 
as there are no types for such, and it would cost a mint of 
money to cast punches for some 30 new letters. A few of 
importance and oft-recurrence I must indulge in. But, please 
God, I will do the work in a style of which my country need 
not be ashamed. 

" Lord Gosford told me yesterday that he has one volume 
of the Mazarin Bible, the first book ever printed, for which 
he gave £^^y and that the accession of the other in like con- 
dition would make the lot worth ;^iooo. Bishop Daly's copy, 
which was a poor one, sold for £6^0. 

" Yours faithfully, 

"Wm. Reeves." 



From the Same, 

" The Library, Armagh, March 2, 1863. 

" My dear Friend, 

" Don't suppose by my not writing to you before 
this that I am insensible to your kindness in sending me the 
telegram on Saturday afternoon. I had divers matters on 
hand. ... I can only say that I wish the Senior Board 
(always excepting Drs. Todd, Lloyd, and Luby) had half, 
yea a twentieth, of your good feeling towards me among 
them, and I would have come in swimmingly. As it is, I am 
afloat, and a man living in such an atmosphere as this Library, 
hallowed and perfumed by the sanctity of the adjacent Rath, 
cannot but thrive under all untowardnesses. 

" I have just now done my day's quantum of copying the 
Index of the * Martyrology ' for the printer. I am trying to 
get this off my hands before I tackle the * Antiphonary.' I 
never had so many irons in the fire before, and I am trying 
to keep them all at a white heat. 

" Graves, it appears, did not vote on Saturday, and I had 
expected he would go point-blank against me. 

" Dr. Lottner has for next ordinary meeting a paper of 
a most interesting and recherche character, by poor Siegfried, 
on some important Gaulish Inscription. Lottner had a two- 
hours' consultation with him on the points therein, and 
therefore is in a condition to bring forward the posthumous 
production in full effect. It will be very important, and 
highly to be prized. 

" Yours faithfully, 

"Wm. Reeves." 

From the Same. 

" The Library, Armagh, September 11, 1863. 

*' Can you give me any information concerning, or refer- 
ence to, the history of the Rev. Robert Scott, D.D., who 
wrote *A Review of the principal characters of the Irish 
House of Commons, by Falkland, Dublin, 1789 ' ? 



" I hope you are well and vigorous, and that the cause of 
Irish letters prospers in your hands. 

"I dined yesterday with old Mrs. Caulfield, and met 
John Prendergast on the occasion. The old lady is a genuine 
Irishwoman, and would delight you by her brilliant and 
sensible conversation. She is a cross between the Molyneux 
and O'Donnells, and so ought to be a genuine Hibernian. 
She knew the Cathach well, about the time it came to Sir 
Neil O'Donnell, and has told me many curious things of its 

From the Same, 

" October 2, 1863. 

" My dear Gilbert, 

"As you kindly offer to draw up the statement 
for the Irish scribe, I gladly embrace the opportunity of 
having it well done, and I enclose you Graves' memorandum, 
which he wrote as a sketch of the form. 

" How goes on the Record movement ? Is there any 
likelihood of a comprehensive depository ? I believe there 
is a prospect of Dr. Todd's book being released from prison 
soon. I long to have it in my hands. 

" Should you at any time happen upon your memorandum 
about Dr. Scott, pray don't forget me. I feel quite in arrear 
of all literary news, it is so long since I have been in Dublin, 
and I almost desire the arrival of November to revive the old 
associations, and the improving intercourse of such men as 
J. T. G. 

"Bishop Forbes has all but finished his *Arbuthnot 
Missal,* so that we may soon expect this valuable addition 
to our Scoto-Hibernian stock. I suppose we shall soon have 
Cambrensis' Irish tracts, and the ' Wars of the Danes/ and 
the 2nd fascic. of the * Liber Hymnorum.' The harvest is 
plenteous, but the labourers are few. 

" Yours faithfully, 

"Wm. Reeves." 



From Lord Dunraven, 

"Adare, November 10, 1863. 
" Count Montalembert complains that our Archaeological 
volumes are not to be got in Paris. Can you do anything to 
remedy this, which is entirely a great pity ? He says there 
is but one copy of Colgan's * Triadis Thau mat urgse,' in all 
France. I forget what volume of the Archaeological Society 
St. Columbkille's poem is published in ; can you tell me ? 
It is a great shame that the Bibliotheque de I'lnstitut does 
not purchase our volumes. Do try and remedy this." 

From the Same. 

"Adare, November 16, 1863. 
"Many thanks for your letter. Your suggestions are 
excellent, and I have written at once to Count Montalembert. 
I am very glad to hear about the O'Donovan's affairs, which 
is most satisfactory. Thanks also for the interesting memoir 
of O'Donovan, which I am very glad to have in a separate 
form. How one does miss them both ! I hope to see you 
on Friday or Saturday next." 

From the Same, 

* Adare, December 8, 1863. 
"Thanks for the extract you have sent me about the 
fairs of Adare, which contains the earliest notice of the town 
which has as yet come to light ; also for the translations. In 
the Calendarium Rot. Chart, which I have here, I find, 
page 132, a grant of free warren to John FitzThomas for 
various places in Limerick. What does * free warren ' mean 
exactly ? Then, in page 3, grants to Thomas FitzMaurice, 
the word Thenedo occurs several times. What does it mean t 
What is the meaning of 'Limorie et Cantride de Hoch- 
ville ' ? " 



From Rev, Dr, Reeves, 

"The Cjdcij rcnMp^n^, i\xC^^ ^dcijd, 

"December 2, 1863. 

"My dear Gilbert, 

" Bishop Kelly of Derry has sent me his exquisite 
manuscript. It is the whole Bible written on vellum as thin as 
India paper, and compressed into a smaller size than any 
pocket-bible in fancy morocco, gilt leaves, and gold clasps, which 
the most fastidious dandy ever inserted into his coat-pocket, or 
the most delicate frequenter of Trinity Church ever embraced 
with the kid-glove-encompassed digits of a languid hand. 

" It is of English extraction, but long in the keeping of 
Tir-Conallian priests. Its grand historical feature is the 
footnote at Genesis i. and St. Matthew i. 

"*Hc librm legavit. M. Petrus Parijs dno Johi Spenser. 
Que relinquet post morte ei^ Magro aut Bacallario Artiu. 
aut honesto sacerdoti sctari de P^^ra Hibernie p^dicatori : 
aut disposito ad p^dicandum. Et recipiens eunde distribuet 
post eius^ recepcone paupib3. iii. s. iiij, d. atq:^ orabit ^ aia 
dicti Petri. Et sub hiis condicoib3 tsibit ab uno sctari 
sacerdote ad alteru.' 

" Is not this curious ? The writing of this note is 400 
years old. Imagine Bachelors and Masters of Arts, preachers 
or disposed to preach in Ireland in 1460. Why, this tells a 
better tale than we have been wont to admit. 

" Now we must try to find out who Messrs. Petrus Parys 
and John Spenser were. When you next see Dr. Todd, tell 
him of this. In 1849 he examined a very beautiful little 
manuscript Bible, which is in Foyle College Diocesan Library 
at Derry. But this, though not so minute or closely packed 
in its writing, is a more exquisite volume. 

" Derry for ever, when it possesses two such books ! 

" Tell Dr. Todd I wrote to the Bishop of Brechin, wishing 
him many happy returns of the Cross decussate. You and 
he must help me at the Ctio)* ^)3)l. 

" Yours faithfully, 

"Wm. Reeves." 



Fro7n Cardinal Wiseman, 

"London, April 21, 1864. 
" Cardinal Wiseman presents his compliments to Mr. 
Gilbert, with best thanks for his work on the Irish Records, 
of which he has read with much interest the portions published 
in the Dublin Review!' 

From the Most Rev. Dr, Moriarty, 

" The Palace, Killarney, April 22, 1864. 
" I was enjoying myself over a volume of your * History 
of Dublin ' which I had laid hold of, when I got your book 
on the Records. I turned to it with a relish, and read it 
through yesterday. The subject-matter is one with which 
I am entirely unacquainted, but the case you make out as 
against the Government and their employe seems unanswer- 
able. It might be brought again before Parliament. I 
recollect an old document being sent, a few years ago, to the 
Rolls Court to ascertain what it was and what it contained. 
It was returned with ' ignoramus for self and fellows.' They 
said they could make nothing of it. I found it was a Papal 
Bull, presenting no special difficulty in the reading, except 
the peculiar shape of the letters." 

From Lord Dunraven, 

" London, May 3, 1864. 

" I have been away from London, and only two days ago 
received your book, for which many thanks, and for your 

" It is delightful to see the way the Records are all 
arranged in London." 



From Rev, Dr. Reeves, 

" The Library, Armagh. 

" I am informed that a Commission is sitting, and has 
been sitting for a fortnight, on Morrin's books. They are 
going systematically through their work, and are to pro- 
nounce upon the merits of the performance in a regular 
report. It is the right sort of a Commission, one which goes 
not on hearsay or statements of evidence, but which reads 
and marks for itself. Have you heard the names of the men, 
and who they are ? 

" I hope your opus ^ progresses satisfactorily, and that we 
may soon have all our lieutenants and deputies passing in 
review before us. I suppose we have done with Lord Carlisle ? 
Next session may see the office abolished. I wish Govern- 
ment would abolish the mockery and give us a substantial 
equivalent, say a good Record department ! " 

From Lord Dunraven, 

" 5, Buckingham Gate, London, May 26, 1864. 

"I have only lately heard from Count Montalembert in 
answer to my letter of November last. Will you send me 
the Miscellany of the Archaeological Society containing St. 
Colum Cille's poem, which you said you would present to 
him in the name of the Council, as I shall have an opportunity 
very soon of sending it to him. He says that he can do 
nothing with the present Minister of Public Instruction, but 
that if our President would write to him applying for a 
complete set of ' Documents inedits sur I'histoire de France,' 
that we should get them immediately." 

* *' The History of the Viceroys." 


From G, A, Grierson. 

" 3, Claremont Bank, Shrewsbury, 

"June 27, 1864. 

"My dear Sir, 

" I am putting together any things I have learned 
about Constantia Grierson, and I shall be much obliged by 
any information you will have the goodness to send me. 

" May I ask you to let me have particulars respecting 
any Latin classics printed in Dublin before her editions ? 
Also your opinion, to be used or not used as you may direct, 
regarding the state of printing in Dublin, or Ireland generally, 
before our progenitor commenced business as a printer, and 
what date you can fix for his earliest printed book, extant 
or reported. 

" I fear, my dear sir, I presume not a little on your 
courtesy, but you have won your spurs with highest honour, 
and no one more rejoiced in your success than 
" Yours very faithfully, 

"George Abm. Grierson." 

From Rev. y. H. Todd, D.D. 

"Athenaeum Club, London, July 2, 1864. 

"My dear Gilbert, 

" Will you send a copy of the * Martyrology of 
Donegal ' to Cardinal Wiseman, if you have not already sent 
him one ? Also a copy, on my account, to my brother, 
Rev. W. G. Todd, D.D., St. Mary's Orphanage, Croomshill, 
Greenwich. Send one also, as from me, to Whitley Stokes. 
The Government are going to institute an inquiry into the 
Irish Record publications. The Irish Master of the Rolls ^ 
violently resists, and urges that no notice ought to be taken 
of an anonymous pamphlet. The thing, however, I believe, 
will be done. The only part of it that looks suspicious is 

^ John Edward Walsh. 



that they have asked the English Master of the Rolls to 
name two (or three) persons to report on the subject. 

Ever yours, 

"J. H. Todd." 

From Rev, J. Graves, 

" Rectory, Inisnag, Stoneyford, 

"August 27, 1864. 

" What of the Commission on Morrin and Co. ? I am 
going through his third volume. He has benefited by the 
castigation of Archivist, and gives, for instance, the offences 
of those who received pardons, which he never condescended 
to do in the former volumes. By the last Returns about the 
Brehon Laws it would seem we are about to get some result 
at last from the Commission. There is ' some secret history ' 
there, too, I dare say." 

From the Same, 

" Rectory, Inisnag, Stoneyford, 

"August 29, 1864. 

" I was asked to make a few notes to illustrate the 
engraving of the seal. As the inscription or legend would 
begin with * Sigillum,' could one read * Guardianus ' ? I 
would suggest ' Conventus.' I don't think St. Thomas's had 
a Guardian. The third volume of Morrin is more carefully 
done than the others, but bad is the best ! The index is 
useless, or nearly so. I am making a Kilkenny index for 
my own use. 

" Prendergast met Hardy at Haliday's, but, of course, 
there was not any talk of the Rolls Calendar. I am sure 
Hardy and Brewer's report will be a fair one. Do you know 
any one capable of making (for payment) a transcript of the 
Roll of goods and sacred utensils found in the suppressed 
monasteries, preserved at the Custom House? I have per- 
mission from the Secretary of State to have it copied, but 
cannot go to Dublin." 



From Rev, Dr. Reeves. 

" The Library, Armagh, August lo, 1864. 
"I got a paper from Jos. Robertson of the Gen. Reg. 
House, Edinburgh, last week, which he sent me on account 
of an article on the Scottish Records. I cut the article out, 
and sent it to the Dublin Evening Mail^ who inserted it on 
Saturday last, pro bono Hibernico. I enclose you the slip, 
which you will oblige me by returning. Our great draw- 
back here is the want of a first-rate general record scholar 
in high position, or even a second or third-rate man, who 
would be capable of directing a record movement. I wish 
they would send over such a man as T. D. Hardy as 
Chief Commissioner, and a couple of steady Irish Archivists 
associated with him. Any word of the Irish Master of the 
Rolls Record Commission? Who are to compose it, and 
where is it to sit ? Any literary news ? " 

From the Same, 

" The Library, Armagh, October 8, 1864. 
"I agree with you entirely as to the advisability of 
employing poor Crowe.^ Mental reserve or impracticability 
is the only thing to be apprehended in his case, for he is, 
no doubt, clever and a good scholar. It is melancholy to see 
him in such poverty, and I would be very glad to give a 
helping hand in raising him from his prostrate condition. 
Had he had the wisdom, when independent, to put himself 
in connection with the Archaeological Society, and make 
friends for himself, he might have taken a better stand at the 
Academy. But the evil is, I hope, not incurable, and it 
would do my heart good to see him on his legs again. If he 
would only share in the generous friendly spirit of O'Donovan, 
who never withheld a helping hand from a literary labourer, 
he might secure friends to himself, and become an Irish 

' J. O'Beirue Crowe, Professor of Irish, Queen's College, Gal way. 



" I may not be able to make my appearance in Dublin 
till the Academy session opens^ but when the time arrives it 
will be a comfort to have him as an assistant and auxiliary, 
and, with his aid, a good thing may be made of the 
Adamnanic tracts." 

From the Same. 

"The Library, Armagh, November, 22, 1864. 

" The Library reference of the Antiphonarium Ben- 
chorense, as Mr. Albert Way gave it to me, is ' Codex Bibl. 
Ambros. C. No. 5. Inferiore,' and I believe it is entitled 
' Hymni sacri cum aliquot Psalmis seu Canticis.' 

" It will be a great treat to get it back in Ireland after 
a thousand years' absence. And it will be as easy as not to 
have it included in the loan, should the authorities consent to 
grant our request. 

" The Italian authorities may not be in very good humour 
with Great Britain just now, after the cold shoulder which was 
given to their Prince in London. I am working at the * Life 
of Adamnan/ and hope to be prepared, after a consultation 
next week with Crowe, to commit it to the printer. 

" The Trin. Coll. Manuscript of the 2nd Vision is a very 
intractable document, but still it may afford some light, and 
it is also well to be able to state that, such as it is, it has been 
collated. The Academy paper copy is, I believe, a transcript 
of it. It's a great pity we can't get the Cain. Had we 
known of Hennessy's visit to Oxford, we might have got the 
text, and possibly have come at the translation, by hook 
or by crook. It's a very curious tract. I have the trans- 
lation by O'Curry, but under a kind of embargo. I remember 
the time when I could have copied the whole in open day. 

" Surely the Brehonians ought to be obliged to the 
Archaeological Society if it would help them in the delivery 
of their conceptions, especially as the birth of the expected 
first-born is so very tardy." 



From Rev. J, Graves. 

" Rectory, Inisnag, Stoneyford, 

" December 29, 1864. 

" Do you mean to say that the Academy would undertake 
the printing of a History of the Diocese of Ossory, with 
Memoirs of its Bishops etc., or do you confine your idea to 
the Taxations of the Diocese ? I did not think the Academy 
ever undertook a work like what Prim and I propose to bring 
out, but if it did, I would be glad to entertain the idea. 

"Your intelligence about the Morrin affair is just what 
I expected. Although chasse as editor, yet he will not be 
exposed, and any qualifying phrases in the report are sure to 
be dressed up, and served to such fools as are willing to 
swallow them. 

"I hope you are well, and that the Lord Lieutenants 
prosper in your hands. General feeling seems to say that 
the office is drawing near a close, and then we shall have 
a big Larcom. 

" I was sorry not to see Duffus Hardy when I was with 
you, for he is a good and clever man, only, I fear, somewhat 
prejudiced against Erin. However, he has had a good 
opportunity of examining into Erin's Record resources, and 
I hope he has profited by his experience." 

In 1865 Gilbert became a life member of the Royal 
Dublin Society, and in the following year was elected a 
Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. 

In 1865 he published his * History of the Viceroys of 
Ireland,' which was received with eager appreciation as a new 
page of Irish history. The following passage is taken from a 
scholarly review of the work in the Athenceum : — 

" This work leads us to hope that history of Ireland 
is about to be written anew — not re-written from old books 
bristling with old prejudices, but from new sources, and 
by comparison of old and new statements, and after due 
weighing of adverse testimony. Some idea of the improved 



Irish history about to be furnished to the pubh'c by Mr. 
Gilbert (the present is but the first volume of a contemplated 
series) may be formed by comparing his list of Viceroys with 
that given by Haydn. In the ' Dictionary of Dates/ from 
Hugh de Lacy in 1173 to Piers Gaveston in 1308 Haydn 
gives but five names. In Mr. Gilbert's volume there are the 
names and the histories connected with them of thirty-two 
Viceroys. Haydn consulted books that yielded little infor- 
mation, or that were incorrectly searched ; and these so 
bewildered him that, between Geoffroi de Marreis (1215) and 
Gaveston (1308), he registers nothing but a blank; whereas 
in that space of time, extending nearly to a century, there 
were not less than twenty-two Viceroys, and many of them 
were men of great ability and influence. If we include some 
who seem to have been Justiciaries rather than Viceroys, 
Mr. Gilbert's Hst would be still greater in comparison with 
Haydn's. If we compare the Viceroys enumerated in Mr. 
Haydn's list with those whose histories are given by Mr. 
Gilbert in his first volume — that is from Lacy in 1173 to 
Henry (afterwards the eighth of that name) in 1494 (accord- 
ing to Gilbert, 1501 in Haydn) we find that in the 'Dictionary 
of Dates ' they amount to thirty-nine ; in the ' Lives of the 
Viceroys ' to ninety-six ; and in this number we do not include 
Governors or Deputies, or others who occasionally exercised 
vice-regal privileges." The review ends, " It is one of the 
ablest and most useful books on Irish history that has 
hitherto come under our notice." 

The London Review^ January 20, 1866, in one of a series 
of articles on the Irish Church Commission, treating of the 
history of the See of Dublin, says, quoting largely from this 
work — 

" Mr. Gilbert, the learned author of the * History of 
Dublin,* in his recently published volume on ' The Irish 
Viceroys,' founded on a minute and careful examination of 
muniments and State papers, unpublished documents, and 
chronicles in the public offices, has thrown much new light 
on the history of Ireland from the Conquest of Henry II. 




down to the Reformation. He is eminently qualified for his 
task, and, being a Roman Catholic gentleman, by no means 
wanting in patriotism, we may rely on his statements respect- 
ing the Catholic Church of the Pale in those ante- Reformation 
times. From the authentic sources of which he has availed 
himself, we gather some curious facts about the Archbishops 
of Dublin." 

From Adolphe Pictet, 

"Geneve, 4 Mai, 1865. 
" J'ai I'honneur de vous adresser ci-joints quelques exem- 
plaires d'un petit travail sur les noms d'hommes gaulois 
empruntes au cheval, insere dans la Revue Archeologique. 
Je vous prie d'en accepter un pour vous, et de remettre les 
autres de ma part au Dr. Graves, au prof"^ O'Sullivan et au 
prop' Lottner. Je serais fort reconnaissant de toutes obser- 
vations critiques que ces messieurs voudraient bien me 
transmettre, et dont je ferais mon profit pour la continuation 
de ce travail. 

"Ou en est la publication de M. le Dr. Graves sur les 
inscriptions en ogham, annoncee depuis si longtemps, et que 
j'attends avec une vive impatience? J'apprends aussi qu'il 
est question de publier le precieux glossaire irlandais laisse 
par M. O'Curry. Ce serait la un important secours pour les 
recherches gauloises, et je vous prie de me dire si je puis 
esperer de le voir paraitre sans trop de retard. Deja celui 
d'O'Donovan, ajoute a la nouvelle edition d'O'Reilly, m'est 
fort precieux, mais il est a regretter que Ton ait reimprime 
telle qu'ellc cette indigeste compilation d'O'Reilly, a laquelle 
on ne peut jamais se fier. Je crains que cela ne retarde 
encore I'execution d'un dictionnaire qui serait plus conforme 
aux exigences de la science actuelle. 

" J'ai bien regu en son temps le ' Martyrology de Donegal * 
que vous avez eu la bonte de m'envoyer. J'y ai trouve une 
riche moisson d'anciens noms propres qui ont notablement 
augmente ma collection, et je vous en remercie vivement," 



From Rev. J, Graves, 

"Rectory, Inisnag, Stoneyford, June 14, 1865. 

I am glad to find that your ' Viceroys * is likely to 
contain so much specially to interest me. I hope to get 
great profit from its contents as to the things and personages 
you mention. 

"The 'Archivist' has arrived, and I have read it. He 
completely demolishes the famous Report. The publication 
from the Old Com'^^ Calendar, 34th page, and that of the 
omitted Patent to O'Shaughnessy, is unanswerable. Hardy 
is made to answer himself effectively — no words could be 
stronger in antagonism to the doctrines put forward in the 
Report than his, from the Report on the Carew papers, and 
the Introduction to his Close Rolls, etc. As in the former 
Pamphlets, keen wit and biting sarcasm flash like the blue 
glint of the polished rapier in the hand of a practised fencer. 

"What use ought to be made of this Pamphlet? Will 
Colonel Dunne bring it before Parliament ? 

" What a pity the old Record Commission could not act 
honestly ! " 

From Rev, Dr. Reeves, 

"The Library, Armagh, October 21, 1865. 

"The fasciculus arrived safely yesterday, and to-day I 
have received your additional note with Crowe's communi- 
cation enclosed. 

"He seems to have taken great pains with his subject, 
and his Introduction shows an amount of style and reading 
that does him great credit. From the specimen of his 
abilities thus afforded, I would say that he is a most valuable 
accession to the project, and that his help will give an air 
and a certainty to the publication which otherwise it would 
not possess. 

" I dare say he is able to detect errors in the Culdee 



paper ; but as to the text being faulty, I am inclined to 
think that in so saying he is either exercising a microscopic 
exactness, or indulging the Hibernian propensity of objecting 
to everything outside No. i. His exception to the inter- 
pretation of -DO is utterly groundless and frivolous. 

"As to the text, I copied it first with great care, then 
Stokes went over it with an emending hand, and lastly, 
when it was in type, Hennessy made a careful collation of it 
with the original. But some day or other I will compare 
it, for satisfaction's sake, and then throw down the gauntlet 
to all cavillers. As to the translation, I must be content to 
feel that it contains some errors, but that scholars have it 
in their power, now that the original is fairly before them, 
to make a better as their knowledge permits. I hope your 
* Lord Lieutenants ' get on with reasonable speed. We have 
a new item now to our Catalogue, and one who, though but 
a Baron, represents an exceedingly old Norfolk family. 

" Have you ordered a copy of * Theiner's Records ' } I 
yesterday wrote to Dr. Russell engaging one for this Library. 
It promises to be a very valuable work. 

" Lord Dunraven informed me lately that the President ^ 
of the Irish College at Rome (if I remember right) has 
written a book on *The Ecclesiastical History of Ireland,' 
which sets some of our good friend's (Dr. Todd's) statements 
in a new light. I wonder what the book is. Does he mean 
Dr. Moran? I have also been told that a Brehon Law 
volume has been published. If so, I expect a treat when 
I go up to Dublin, which I hope to do on Monday next, and 
there to have the pleasure of seeing you once more. 

"Mr. Power writes to me that he is busy compiling his 
*Bibliotheca Hibernica,' and that his materials have grown 
to great dimensions. 

" I have prepared an Index to my Culdee paper, and am 
printing a Title, Table of Contents, and Preface, the materials 
for which are in Gill's hands. These will be propriis im- 
pensis, and if the Table of Contents and the Index would 

* Now Cardinal Moran. 



be acceptable to the Academy, I will present them with a 
supply for their issue, which can be furnished as an after- 
thought to the members. I am grieved to hear so bad an 
account of our great and good primum mobile. With such 
a man, to damnify his eyes was the sorest calamity which 
could happen. Let us hope that the hand which smote will 
be pleased to soothe." 

Frorn Rev. jf . Graves, 

"Rectory, Inisnag, Stoneyford, August 27, 1865. 

" I shall be very glad, indeed, to meet you with Hardinge, 
and shall take the first opportunity of arranging with Lady 
Ormonde for an inspection of the evidence chamber at 
Kilkenny Castle." 

From S. Nilsson. 

' Stockholm, le 28 Fev., 1866. 
"II y a quelques jours que j'ai regu votre lettre du 
16 Fevrier, et bier m'arriva la gazette que vous m'avez remis. 
De Tune et de I'autre je vous prie d'agreer mes sinceres 

"De I'honorable commission dont vous m'avez charge, 
je me suis essaye de m'acquitter deja hier. J'ai visite 4 ou 5 
de mes amis, qui ont un nom dans le monde savant, mais 
aucun n'a voulu souscrire la supplique au Ministre Anglais. 
L'un, etant Botaniste, me disait qu'il ne connait pas les 
ecrits de Mr. Petrie ; I'autre, etant Zoologue, disait le meme. 
Un troisieme me repondait nettement que ce serait un 
affront envers le ministre de le soup^onner d'avoir plus de 
confiance au temoignage des etrangers q'aux compatriotes 
du defunt, qui le devaient connaitre le mieux. Et je ne 
puis pas desavouer qu'il y a quelque raison dans sa maniere 
de voir I'affaire. Neanmoins je souscris mon nom, parce que 
vous I'avez voulu, et sous la reserve que plusieurs etrangers 


souscrivent. J'espere qu'en tout cas les pauvres filles tien- 
dront ce que vous avez demande pour elles. 

"Mais, mon Dieu, a vraiment Mr. Petrie pu vivre avec 
famille a Dublin d'un salaire de £200 ! Le double, au moins, 
serait necessaire pour vivre avec famille a Stockholm. 

" Avec le plus grand interet j'ai lu le panegyrique du feu 
Petrie fait par Dean Graves, qui s'est present^ en grand 
Orateur, et de beaucoup de talent. Mais, quoique ce fut le 
devoir du panegyriste d'elever le sujet le plus possible, je me 
demande si Mr. Petrie a vraiment ete un si grand Archaeologue, 
et qu'il a fait tant de progres a Tarchaeologie de I'lrlande, 
que dit le Dean Graves ? J'en doute. 

" Quant a moi, je connais un seul vrai et impartial Archaeo- 
logue en Irlande, et vous le connaissez aussi, son nom est 
Sir William Wilde. Dans son livre sous le titre de * Beauties 
of the Boyne' j'ai recueilli beaucoup de renseignements pre- 
cieux ; car son auteur a vu d'autres parties du monde qu' 
Irlande, et il sait faire des comparaisons ingenieuses de ce 
qu'il a vu. II ne veut balayer les traditions populaires, mais 
il les examine avec sagacite, et il en prend des resultats 
profitables pour la science. 

"Quant a Mr. Petrie je ne connais ses ecrits que par 
le referat de son panegyriste ; mais j'aurais bien de Ten vie, 
de connaitre son traite sur les tours rondes, qui me semble 
tres problematiques. 

"J'avais presque oubli^ de vous remercier du grand 
honneur que vous m'avez fait, en me presentant comme 
membre hon. de la royale Academic d'Irlande. C'est la 
26™® des Academies des savantes societes, dont je suis mem- 
bres (dont 3 en Angleterre) et je vous assure que j'apprecie 
I'honneur d'etre membre d'une si cel^bre Academic, et dans 
un pays que je considere comme etant pour I'Archaeologie le 
plus interessant de I'Europe. 

" C'est pourquoi aussi je souhaite de voir mon ouvrage 
sur TAge du Bronze publid en Irlande, ou il se trouve plus de 
bronze que dans aucun autre pays de I'Europe, excepte les 
parties meridionales de la Scandinavie, ou il y en a aussi 


" Vous dites dans votre lettre : — * Mr. Murray, as I told 
you in a former communication, said he would publish your 
work if he got a good translation.' Cette lettre de vous 
je n'ai jamais regu. Comme je vous ai dit auparavant, j'ai 
une bonne traduction anglaise faite par Mr. Baker, fils d'un 
Amiral Anglais, et la Comtesse Suedoise de Ruth. Et je 
serais bien content si Mr. Murray voulait publier cette 
traduction. Mais dans I'ouvrage il y a beaucoup de xylo- 
graphies et autres figures gravees en pierre. Quant aux 
premieres I'editeur en pourrait avoir des clichees par I'editeur 
du texte suedois, mais les lithographies devaient necessaire- 
ment etre refaites. 

"Vous dites que vous n'avez vu qu'une part de mon 
ouvrage. J'en suis etonne, car le 12 Juillet 1865 je vous ai 
remis une copie complete, cartonnee par la poste. Peut-etre 
qu'elle est encore dans la poste de Dublin." 

From Rev. Dr. Todd. 

" London, April 24, 1866. 

" I was very glad to hear that Dr. Moran is henceforth to 
be settled in Dublin. We must get him made a member of 
the R.I.A., and you may assure him that he shall have full 
access to everything he wishes to see in Trinity College. I 
shall be too happy to endeavour to repay, if I can, some of 
the kindness he showed me when I was in Rome. If you 
will take the enclosed paper to Dr. Carson, he will, I am sure, 
get everything else done, so as to have him admitted to the 
Library without delay. 

" Can you give me any information, or refer me to any 
authorities, respecting antient Irish glibs? Was it simply 
long hair hanging down the back, or was it plaited or matted 
on the head ? Was there not an Act of Parliament, temp. 
Eliz., prohibiting the wearing of glibs ? 

The matter of the Irish Records will assuredly be jobbed 
if we do not keep a sharp look-out." 



From Dr, Wilde. 

" I, Merrion Square, Dublin, May 19, 1866. 
" I received back the Report, and have adopted all your 
suggestions. The identification and numbering of Hardinge 
and Reeves' 1000 articles will, I fear, take up a great deal of 
time. Since you read the Report I have added a paragraph 
to it respecting the Indian musical instruments, as I am fully 
convinced that we never should have such things in our 

"Trinity College has long fought shy of depositing its 
Irish antiquities with us, chiefly because our officials were on 
the Board of T.C.D., or expected to be there. Now, how- 
ever, I think it is high time to make a stir in the matter, and, 
at all events, give them the option of refusal. 

" Some may think that this Report is too voluminous, but 
it is entirely consequent upon the unfortunate interference 
with the resolution of Council in 1859. 

" I am off by the mail train, and heartily wish you could 
be with me, as I expect to take a survey of the plain of 
Moytura Conga, from the Firbolg Monument on the top of 
Knockma, at 12 o'clock to-morrow. 

" I hope Hardinge is not displeased with the Report, as 
he is the last person in the world I would wish to annoy, for 
I am sure, whatever the result may be, his actions are pure 
and honourable." 

From the Same. 

"Moytura, October 11, 1866. 
" Many thanks for your letter. I am better, and able to 
oversee workmen and take short antiquarian journeys, but 
nothing more. Either the sword-hilt is a lie, or a loss } 
Which is it ? How I wish you could come down to us for 
even a day. Did you hear that part of New Grange has 
fallen in ? " 


I 867-1 870 

Secretary to the Public Record Office, Ireland — Dinner Club, R.I. A. — 
Home and social life — Death of his mother — Letters. 

The Public Records Act, Ireland, received the royal assent 
on August 12, 1867. In June of that year, Mr. Thomas 
Duffus Hardy, Deputy Keeper, London, wrote to Gilbert — 

From T, D. Hardy, Deputy Keeper, 

''Rolls House, London, June 12, 1867. 

" I have not heard anything lately relative to the Irish 
Record Office, but a rumour reached me one day last week 
that the * Irish Office' wishes to appoint an Irish barrister 
to the office of Deputy Keeper. I have forgotten the name 
of the gentleman. I think you would be wise to turn your 
thoughts to the secretaryship ; but I would not, of course, 
refuse the deputy keepership if it should be offered to you." 

The post of Deputy Keeper was not, however, given to 
Gilbert, to whom it was due by all the laws of fitness and 
of peculiar service done to the public. 

On September 23, 1867, Dr. Samuel Ferguson, barrister- 
at-law, was appointed Deputy Keeper of the Public Records 
in Ireland. The establishment for the Department was 
arranged in December, and on January i, 1868, the senior 
official staff of the Department was constituted by the 
appointments of John James Digges la Touche, A.M., M.R.I.A. 




(late of office of Deputy Keeper of the Rolls), to be Assistant 
Deputy Keeper; and John T. Gilbert, F.S.A., M.R.I.A. (Hon. 
Librarian of the Royal Irish Academy and Professor of 
History and Archaeology, Royal Hibernian Academy), to 
be Secretary. 

Gilbert was advised by his friends that the secretaryship 
was the more practically important post, as giving more 
power where work was concerned, and cheerfully accepted 
it. In October, 1867, Mr. Hardy wrote to him — 

From T, Hardy, 

" The only screw that has been loose respecting the office 
of Secretary, is whether or no there should be such an officer, 
as the Irish Record Act did not create one. This difficulty 
has now, I understand, been removed, principally through 
the recommendation of the Master of the Rolls in Ireland. 
I sincerely hope you will be the man. I wrote strongly in 
your favour to the Master of the Rolls. If you are not the 
favoured man, I shall be much disappointed. I have done 
all in my power for you." 

From Rev, J, Graves. 

" Kilkenny. 

"I am glad to get your note confirming the statement 
of the papers that you have been appointed Secretary, and 
that there is a prospect of * business ' being begun at once. 
Mr. Hardinge tells me that you can help me to a transcript 
of valuables of the suppressed monasteries." 

From T, Gilbert to Rev. J. Graves. 

"I have received your note, on which I cannot act for 
some few days to come, as we have not yet got even a table 
or chair in the office ! However, you may rely on hearing 
from me at the earliest moment. 

" Pray excuse me to Prim when you next see him, and 


say I should have written had I not been overwhelmed with 
business — and relied on you to tell him of my having become 

Two months later Gilbert received notice of his formal 
appointment — 

From Sir T. A. Larcom, 

"Dublin Castle, December 23, 1867. 

" Sir. 

"I am directed by the Lord Lieutenant to acquaint 
you that His Excellency has been pleased to appoint you 
to be Secretary to the Public Record Office, your appoint- 
ment to take effect on and from the ist of January next 

All who were alive to the importance of the thorough 
treatment, as well as the careful preservation, of the Irish 
Records in Ireland rejoiced at Gilbert's appointment, and 
congratulations from those most competent to judge of such 
matters poured in upon him. 

From Lord Romilly, Master of the Rolls in 

"Rolls House, London, November 28, 1867. 
" I beg to return you my very cordial thanks for the very 
beautiful copy of your valuable * History of the Viceroys of 
Ireland,' which you have done me the honour of presenting 
to me. The value is increased in my estimation by coming 
from you. 

"Allow me to take this opportunity of congratulating 
you on your appointment to the office of Secretary to the 
Record establishment in Ireland, which I trust will prove as 
agreeable to yourself as I am sure that it will be advan- 
tageous to the public. 



" If, as Mr. Hardy informs me, you are likely to come to 
this country shortly, I trust you will allow me to have the 
pleasure of making your acquaintance personally." 

From T, D. Hardy, 

" Rolls House, London. 
" Although I am very much pressed by official business, 
yet I must write a few words of hearty congratulation. I 
believe you are the fittest man in Ireland for the office, and 
I wish you every success in it." 

From J , S, Brewer. 

" Public Record Office, London, 

"November 29, 1867. 

" I have to thank you for a magnificent copy of the 
'Viceroys of Ireland.' The book will be particularly valu- 
able to those who wish to study the history of that country 
in a more attractive form than is by most writers presented 
to them, especially when it arrives at that period on which 
I am engaged. 

" Allow me to congratulate you on your new appoint- 
ment. It will, I trust, furnish you with more leisure and 
opportunities for pursuing your favourite subjects, and doing 
that service to the history of Ireland which no one is more 
capable of doing than yourself." 

Taking up his position as Secretary to the Public Record 
Office, Dublin, Gilbert had a great purpose in mind. He 
desired to open up the entire treasury of documentary 
material for Irish history, to print all that was necessary or 
desirable for the enlightenment and for the use of present and 
future historical writers, and thus, by incontrovertible evidence, 
to free history of many pages stained by misrepresentation. 
He aspired to see the new Record Office an institution based 
on the lines of the French School of Archivists, where the 


work is done with systematic and inevitable accuracy, which 
appoints minor schools in every province, and whose archivists, 
being thus thoroughly educated and technically trained, are 
competent to fill important posts as heads of the several 

His entrance on the Secretaryship was therefore a very 
happy moment of his life, when a wide field for future develop- 
ments of his projects of national work opened before him, 
and he at once became absorbed in these congenial labours. 

When he had been established in the Record Office about 
a year, the Deputy-Keeper, London, wrote to him — 

From T. D. Hardy, 


" I was very much pleased to receive a letter from you, 
but still more so to hear that everything is going on so 
satisfactorily in your department. I always felt convinced 
that you were the right man in the right place, and that if 
any person could get over a difficulty, you were the one to 
do it. I shall be very glad to have your report, and see how 
you have managed to work your staff. Have you yet 
obtained the permission of the Treasury for your * National 
Manuscripts ' to be sent to Southampton } " 

At this period, as in earlier years, his sunny temperament 
and ever ready wit made Gilbert a favourite in society, and 
gained him the lasting affection of many acquaintances and 
the love of his intimate friends. 

Mr. John Ribton Garstin ^ writes of the Dinner Club of the 
Royal Irish Academy — 

"We dined in an upper back room of Macken's Hotel, 
which was the house in Dawson Street, at the corner of the 
passage to South Frederick Street. Two ravens used to live 
at the opposite corner (a public-house), and hopped about the 

* Vice-President of the Royal Irish Academy, and President of the Royal 
Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. 



street all day, occasionally affording us amusement. Macken's 
was an old-fashioned place, with a reputation for good cookery 
and an atmosphere of old port, which, however, was not much 
in demand at the Academy dinners. The select band of 
diners exercised a powerful influence in the Academy, and 
usually pulled well together. Sir William Wilde often pre- 
sided, and sometimes brought genial guests, but the number 
dining hovered about thirteen. The dinner was simple and 
unpretentious, but the flow of wit was such as probably could 
not be matched nowadays. Undress was usual, but not in- 
variable. Gilbert was the life and soul of these parties, always 
ready with repartee. His jokes were always enunciated 
with a dry humour and a twinkle of the eyes, and were in- 
variably sensible and to the point. I wish I could remember 
some of his wonderful bon-mots^ for they were so perfectly 
spontaneous, so clever and keen, and yet so free from offence, 
that they deserve recording. But time rapidly effaces such 
trifles, and Sir John will be remembered for his solid work 
rather than for his witty sayings. A warm friendship existed 
between him and myself, chiefly in connection with the Royal 
Irish Academy, to which he was so devoted. One thing we 
always strove for together, namely, to maintain for the 
Academy Council its reputation as a public body where no 
considerations of religion or politics should be allowed to 
interfere with the management or the men. Though differ- 
ing in both religion and politics, we were cordially agreed in 
this, and many a time we helped each other to secure what 
we thought best in the interest of the Academy, regardless of 
individual claims save those of merit." 

The following note is from Mr. John MacCarthy (son of 
the poet) : — 

"In the sixties I remember his coming out to Dalkey, 
where we were then living, at Summerfield (* Some-where- 
field ' was the Gilbertian variant), when he and my father 
would take long walks together. We would sometimes meet 
him in the train on our way back from Dublin, and how 



amused and delighted we young folks used to be by his 
endless jokes. Sometimes he would pun on the names of the 
stations : when the porter called out * Sea-point,' he would 
whisper to some one who had been slow in appreciating the 
last, ' That was specially addressed to you.' When we neared 
Blackrock he would bid us farewell with the remark, ' This 
is the rock on which we split' At a later time he would 
describe the little estuary there, destined to be filled to make 
the Public Park, as ' the Promised Land.' When it was pro- 
posed to establish a halfpenny paper in Dublin to be called 
the Irish Echo, he said it might well be named so, because it 
would ' never answer.' A clergyman had directed a box of 
books to be sent to Villa Nova to be called for. It remained 
a long time unclaimed, and when questioned, * J. T. ' would 
describe the box as * a reserved case.' Of a book about to be 
published which he thought of little interest he observed that 
the title * Miscellany,' or * miss-sell-any,' was a capital hit. 

" Mr. J. C. O'Callaghan's Carlyleian flow of eloquence 
found an appreciative audience at Villa Nova. * When I go 
to Gilbert's / dine^^ he would say. Yet his host could not 
always restrain himself from interrupting. On one occasion 
O'Callaghan mentioned Plato's definition of man, * an animal 
with two legs and without feathers,' and proceeded to narrate 
how next day Aristippus brought a plucked fowl into the 
lecture hall, saying, ' Here is Plato's man.' 

"*This,' continued O'Callaghan, 'was the reply of Aris- 
tippus ' 

" * Perhaps you mean Arrah-strip-us ! ' laughed J. T. The 
bow could not always be bent, and it was after long and toil- 
some hours spent in his library poring over crabbed and ab- 
breviated Latin and French Manuscripts that he would relieve 
his mind by a succession of such jokes. Sometimes he would 
amuse his friends by the supposed adventures of distinguished 
acquaintances, mimicking in the drollest way their manner 
and somewhat pompous phraseology, but all in the purest 
fun, never with a trace of bitterness or ill-will. He seemed 
purposely to avoid speaking of his work or of serious subjects 

t6o life of sir JOHN T. GILBERT 

generally, yet on rare occasions it was a treat to hear him 
discuss archaeology and science with the accomplished Dr. 
W. K. Sullivan, literature and philosophy with Judge 
O'Hagan, Irish history with Father Meehan. If a classical 
discussion were originated by Father Meehan's quotations 
from Horace and Ovid, he would show his familiarity not only 
with these, but with less read writers, such as Petronius and 
Martianus Capella. His knowledge, too, of French and 
Italian literature extended far beyond the limits of his special 
studies. I do not forget his particular friendship for the old 
cat * Jack,' who reached the patriarchal age of nineteen years. 
Jack used to repose on a particular stool described by J. T. 
as his * catafalque.' The Archivist made a great pet of him, 
and would stop work to play with him, suddenly taking up 
pen or ruler, whereupon the two friends would engage in a 
solemn sparring match." 

His domestic life was a very happy one. " J. T.," as he was 
affectionately called by his friends, was worshipped by the 
mother and sisters whose bright social qualities contributed 
much to the attractions of Villa Nova, a home looked on by 
all who frequented it as an ideal of comfort and harmony. 
There was a sweet old-world atmosphere in the house, an 
odour of fresh flowers and old books. The walls were lined 
with rare engravings, chiefly portraits of men and women 
more or less connected with Ireland in the past ; much of 
the furniture was a couple of hundred years old, cherished 
remnants from a great-grandfather's home in Devonshire, or 
from Jervis Street, Dublin, or rescued from the burning of 
the old house at Brannickstown. On some of the old silver 
and glass on the table appeared mysterious masonic emblems, 
reminding the Irish Catholic Gilberts of their English Pro- 
testant forefathers. As for books, they were everywhere. A 
large library was lined with them from ceiling to floor ; the 
dining-room had admitted two noble bookcases where some 
precious tomes in rare ancient bindings of great beauty were 
preserved under glass ; even the drawing-room had contrived 
to work in several well-filled bookstands among its ornaments, 



adding charm to an apartment distinguished for a general air 
of culture, and remarkable for a tender green light reflected 
from the tall lime trees bounding the thither side of the lawn. 

In the late sixties the strong, meek mother was living the 
last years of her life. Her portrait shows a broad, calm brow, 
mouth with sweet and pathetic lines, serious and sympathetic 
eyes, white hair, still flecked with the gold of the past, parted 
in smooth bands under the widow's cap which she wore for 
thirty-seven years. Gilbert's devotion to his mother, on 
whose personal traits and many of whose mental character- 
istics his own were modelled, was noted by his friends, who tell 
how he would sit by her side in the evenings, and lead her to 
the piano on his arm with an air of tender courtliness that was 
pleasant to see. Her singing and playing of Irish music, 
especially of some of the melodies of Moore, delighted him. 
From her he drew the gentle sensitiveness and modest reserve 
so remarkable in his strong nature, as well as his tall figure, 
fair complexion, and other salient physical characteristics. 

In 1869 he was induced to prolong a necessary visit to 
London by a run to Paris, his friends rejoicing that the over- 
worked brain was getting a holiday. Especially pleased was 
his favourite sister Mary, his close friend and home com- 
panion from childhood, who delighted to give him all the 
help and sympathy, at work and at play, that was in her 
power. Her letters pursued him in his travel, and nothing 
of the daily life at home was too trivial to be recorded as 
sure to interest the absent one, who seemed to be " at siich 
an immense distance away from us." " The meadow grass is 
to be cut next week," she writes ; " the new cow is not pretty, 
all white with a red nose, but David says she is * a great sort, 
and very young.' " A spray of forget-me-not that blossomed 
thirty years ago lies dry and yellow between the pages of this 
letter. She was careful for his distinguished appearance. 
" I hope you got a fashionable coat in London ; and how do 
you get on with no one to put your studs in your shirts for 
you ? " He has been charged with visits to friends and 
acquaintances in London and Paris, and she is solicitous lest 


1 62 


archivistic or palaeographical attractions should betray him 
into forgetting any of these. " Do go to see Renee at Vau- 
girard. Can you manage Clarisse ? I fear you will not have 
time for Pauline. I hope you will visit the Irish College ; 
Father Fagan^ says his friends there will make so much 
of you." Many excuses were made to prevail on J. T. to 
lengthen his sojourn in Paris. " It is such a pity not to stay 
more than a week v/hen you are there, for when will you ever 
go again She gives him messages from friends. Dr. W. 
K. Sullivan is delighted he is enjoying his holiday, and wishes 
he would go further on the Continent ; Mr. Hardinge sends 
word that Florence ought to be visited ; another votes for 
Venice, in particular. " We had a long visit from Mr. 
O'Callaghan ; he sends you instructions not to read a word 
or look at a book until you return, but to ' kick up your heels 
and frisk about ! ' He is glad you are seeing Paris in her 
ball-dress, not as he saw her in 1841. How I wish I were 
with you in the Louvre! Do stay and enjoy the different 
sights, and don't hurry. Philippa says you must see every- 
thing, so that she need not have the trouble of sending you 
to any more panoramas ! " 

One Murphy, a notorious person, was making a noise in 
the newspapers of the day, and Mary playfully alludes to " a 
young man of the name of Gilbert " arrested for attacking 
Murphy. "You certainly lost no time in having a fling at 
him ! I shall send on the joke to D. F. MacCarthy." 

In London he hears that ^' we are anxious to know how 
you got on at the Record Office, and if you have met Lord 
Romilly." Then a sad note is struck, announcing the death 
of Dr. Todd. " Short as is the time since you went away, so 
many friends are gone ! " Meanwhile she was doing some 
little service at home for the holiday-maker. " I have done 
some of the Index for you ; not much, only the letter A. I 
do a little of it every evening, to keep me from feeling lonesome 
without you." 

' Rev. Thomas J. Fagan, for many years curate, and afterwards parish priest, 
of Blackrock, county Dublin, a devoted friend of the Gilberts. 


That was in the last year of the loved and honoured 
mother's life. Mary's letters bear her messages. "The 
mother is well and sends her dear son her most affectionate 
love. She is kept busy watching the post for your letters." 
Again, " The mother is going on beautifully, only that she is 
constantly in terror of letters missing the post, and expects 
the postman every time she awakes." Mrs. Gilbert was then 
gradually fading away, Eleanor was a confirmed invalid, 
Philippa very frail, and even Mary was delicate, for she says, 
" I am, thank God, getting very strong, and able to walk 
anywhere." These four dear ones were a sacred charge to 
Gilbert. During his absence he was, as ever, mindful of 
them. " You are the dearest old boy in the world to write 
to us so regularly. Mother is delighted to get your letters 
and the newspapers." 

In the spring of this year Mary Gilbert sent a spray of 
shamrock, picked out of the lawn at Villa Nova, to D. F. 
MacCarthy, who was then with his wife and children at 
Boulogne, and the response enclosed the original manuscript 
of a poem with which most Irish people are familiar — " A 
Shamrock from the Irish Shore." *'J. T." was so charmed 
with the poem that he had it printed separately in a tiny 
booklet with shamrock-green cover, for private circulation 
among a few appreciative friends. One or two of these tiny 
booklets remain as precious relics in the hands of the present 
writer, memorials of J. T.'s affection for his friend of years. 

Of this little booklet Gilbert, when sending it to a friend 
so late as 1891, wrote — 

" The enclosed * Shamrock from the Irish Shore ' was 
intended to have reached you on St. Patrick's Day. I have 
had a very few copies printed in this form as a memorial of 
my dear sister, who sent the shamrocks to Boulogne, and of 
D. F. MacCarthy, who sent the poem by return of post. I 
have seen some Irish people very much affected at some 
parts of this poem." 

Mary Gilbert wrote, on receiving the poem ^ — 

^ See Appendix. 


" I do not know how to thank you, or in what words 
to express our delight in the beautiful lines you sent 
yesterday. The exquisite taste and fancy, the poetic 
imagery and tenderness of the verses are only what might 
have been expected from yourself. I believe the English 
are right, after all, in crushing and bruising us ; they are 
an eminently practical people, and find that the best good is 
wrung from us after we have been driven out of the dear old 
land we all love so well. It strikes me that you might have 
been looking at the shamrocks of Summerfield long enough 
before those twelve sweet stanzas would have come forth. 
We have just been reading the poem to an English Protestant 
clergyman, one of the last in the world you would suppose 
likely to appreciate them, and he has become so enthusiastic 
about them that I have had to give him your autograph to 
carry away to England. We are charmed at the idea of 
having you all back. A nice place at the top of this avenue 
(Fort William) is to be let, and we have been picturing you 
settled there. J. T. says you may be alarmed at the name of 
the house, and thinks it would require a person no less warlike 
than our friend the Brigadier (O'Callaghan) to take the 
Fort ! " 

That year was about the last of the happiest days of the 
Gilberts as a united family group. In 1870 the cherished 
mother died. J. T.'s private diary of that year shows a leaf 
turned down, and under the date (July 7) appears a line in his 
clear delicate handwriting — 

" Circa horam septimam post meridiem decessit Mater." 


Inspector for Ireland under the Historical Manuscripts Commission- 
Facsimiles of the National Manuscripts of Ireland— Trip with D. F. 
MacCarthy — Letters. 

The Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts was 
appointed by Her Majesty Queen Victoria on the second 
day of April, 1869. The following is the list of the members 
and inspectors of the Commission : — 


Lord Romilly {chairman). 
Marquess of Salisbury. 
Earl of Airlie, K.T. 
Earl of Stanhope. 
Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, M.P. 
Right Rev. Charles Graves, D.D., 
Bishop of Limerick. 


Lord Talbot de Malahide. 
Sir William Stirling Maxwell, 

Very Rev. C. W. Russell, D.D. 
George W. Dasent, D.C.L. 
Sir Thomas Duffus Hardy, 


W. G. Brett, Esq., Rolls House, Chancery Lane, London, E.C 

Inspectors of Manuscripts under the Commission. 

For England. — H. T. Riley, Esq. ; A. J. Horwood, Esq. ; Joseph 

Stevenson, Esq. 

For Scotlajid. — John Stuart, LL.D., General Register House, Edin- 
burgh; W. Eraser, Esq. 

For Ireland.— ]. T. Gilbert, Esq., F.S.A., Public Record Office, Four 

Courts, Dublin. 


On February 26, 1870, John T. Gilbert received the 
letter of the Comniissioners appointing him Inspector of 
Manuscripts in Ireland under the Commission. 

In the first report (1870) issued by the Commission, 
Gilbert reported on Manuscripts belonging to Lord Talbot de 
Malahide, Mr. J. W. Bayly of Finglas, the Earl of Rosse, the 
Earl of Charlemont, including letters, and a Latin poem by 
an ancient author, Mr. Hewitt of Cork, Dr. Caulfield ; also 
on the municipal muniments of the corporations of Dublin, 
Limerick, Waterford, and Kilkenny. 

In 1 87 1 the second report of the Commission contained 
reports by Gilbert on the MSS. of the Marquis of Ormonde, 
the Earl of Granard, the Earl of Rosse, the O'Conor Don 
MSS., including the papers of Charles O'Conor of Belanagare, 
a collection which formed part of the great collection of 
Irish MSS. purchased from the representatives of Charles 
O'Conor by the Duke of Buckingham of Stowe ; Major- 
General Dunne, a collection containing an account of the 
war and rebellion in Ireland since the year 1641 ; Dr. R. 
D. Lyons, MSS. including correspondence and papers of 
William King, Archbishop of Dublin. 

The third report of the Commission (1872) includes, by 
Gilbert, reports on the MSS. of the Marquis of Ormonde ; the 
Earl of Granard ; the historical memoirs of the Geraldine 
Earls of Desmond, in possession of A. Fitzgibbon, Esq., of 
Stanmore, Middlesex ; and the Parliamentary History of 
Ireland, by Hugh Howard, LL.D. (son of Robert Howard, 
Bishop of Killala and Elphin, 1729), in the possession of the 
Rev. M. Moloney. 

To the fourth report (1874) he contributed reports on the 
MSS. of the Marquis of Ormonde ; Viscount Gormanston, 
including Register beginning in the reign of Henry II. ; Sir 
Richard O'Donnell, Bart., including the Psalter of the 
Cathach, ascribed to St. Columba ; the MSS. of Trinity 
College, Dublin, including " An Aphorismical Discovery of 
Treasonable Faction," an original personal narrative of affairs 
in Ireland from 1641 to 1652, written in English, but with 


many peculiarities of orthography, unusual and semi-foreign 
words, and replete with extracts from and references to 
authors in Latin, Spanish, and Irish. The writer gives us to 
understand that he was a man of the sword, " an eye-witness 
of all the storie," and that he was equally allied by blood with 
both ancient Irish and Anglo-Irish, and that his ardent desire 
was to perpetuate the memory of General Owen O'Neill. 
Gilbert endeavoured to obtain the publication by Govern- 
ment of this remarkable manuscript, to be included in the 
Master of the Rolls* series, Chronicles and Memorials of Great 
Britain and Ireland," and, having failed in this, he edited 
and published it himself, independently, some years later. 
In this report the famous " Depositions " are fairly treated, 
and passages are quoted from learned sources proving them 
unworthy of credence. It may be noted here that Trinity 
College, when publishing a catalogue of its Manuscripts in 
1900, made no allusion to the previous examination and 
cataloguing by Gilbert, who had made complete but com- 
pendious lists of the Manuscripts in presses A. to G. 

In the fourth report (1874) Gilbert also reported on the 
MSS. of the former College of Irish Franciscans at Louvain, 
which were transferred in 1872 from the Franciscan College 
of St. Isidore, Rome, to the Franciscan Convent, Dublin. 

In the sixth and seventh reports of the Royal Historical 
MSS. Commission (1877 and 1879) Gilbert devoted his atten- 
tion to the MSS. of the Marquis of Ormonde. 

In the eighth report (1881) there appeared reports by 
Gilbert on the MSS. of Ormonde ; Lord Emly's collection ; 
the correspondence and papers of E. S. Pery, Speaker of the 
House of Commons, Ireland, from 177 1 to 1785 ; and further 
reports on the correspondence and MSS. of Charles O'Conor, 
of Belanagare, co. Roscommon, and on the MSS. of Trinity 
College, Dublin; also reports on the MSS. of Lord Talbot de 
Malahide, and of the Diocesan Library, Derry. 

The ninth report (1883-4) published reports by Gilbert 
on the MSS. of the Duke of Leinster, containing the Red 
Book of Kildare ; the MSS. of the Marquis of Drogheda, 


which include letters of the Loftus family ; correspondence 
of Lord Macartney, Governor of Madras, 1781 to 1785 ; the 
Rinuccini MSS., styled the Nuncio's Memoirs, in the collec- 
tion of the Earl of Leicester, Holkham, Norfolk ; and a 
further report on the MSS. of the Marquis of Ormonde. 

In the tenth report (1885) he reported on the MSS. of 
the Earl of Fingall, including the MS. entitled " Light to the 
Blind ; " of the Corporations of Galway and Waterford ; of 
the Sees of Dublin and Ossory ; and of the Jesuits in Ireland. 

In the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth reports (1888, 
1 891, 1893) Gilbert devoted his attention to the MSS. of the 
Marchioness of Waterford and Earl of Charlemont. 

In the fourteenth report (1895) he continued his reports 
on the MSS. of the Marquis of Ormonde and of Lord Emly. 

In the fifteenth report (1897) he reported on the MSS. 
of Charles Haliday, Esq. 

In 1899, the year after his death, appeared the second 
volume of Gilbert's report on the MSS. of the Marquis of 

In 1870, having already made considerable progress in 
the selection of specimens of ancient Irish writings, he was 
formally appointed by the Right Honourable Edward Sulli- 
van, Master of the Rolls in Ireland, to select and edit the 
documents which were published under the title of "Fac- 
similes of the National Manuscripts of Ireland." 

The following is an extract from the report of the Deputy 
Keeper of the Public Records in Ireland : — 

" It being deemed proper that a series of specimens of 
national manuscripts relating to Ireland should be executed, 
under the authority of Her Majesty's Government, by the 
photozincographic process at the Ordnance Survey Office, 
Southampton, as had been done in respect of the national 
manuscripts of England and Scotland, the editing of the 
intended work has been confided to J. T. Gilbert, Esq., F.S.A., 
secretary of this office. Mr. Gilbert having selected, amongst 
other materials for his work, specimens from some records in 
this office, the Master of the Rolls has been pleased to direct 


that the requisite facilities should be afforded for having 
photozincographic facsimiles of them taken for the intended 
publication." ^ 

As Inspector of Manuscripts in Ireland he was authorized to 
request admission to every muniment room in the kingdom, 
and to make choice there of such manuscripts as would best 
serve the purpose of his historical undertakings, and therefore 
he had peculiar facilities for the work of the national manu- 
scripts entrusted to him. His search was made not only in 
the great libraries and other public repositories of such 
jealously guarded treasure ; he effected an entrance into the 
houses of those noblemen throughout the three kingdoms 
who were possessors of ancient and historic documents. In 
some cases it was not quite easy to persuade the heads of 
such houses to deliver over their manuscripts for an inspec- 
tion which might result in their publication, but after a little 
trouble these difficulties were gradually overcome. One 
noble lord, whose taste was for sport rather than for 
books, stated that he had in his house some bundles of 
(apparently) old rags, which were said to contain writings, 
but they were so black with time that he defied any one to 
decipher whatever hieroglyphics might possibly be inscribed 
upon them. However, he was persuaded of the desirability 
of testing their value, and with a highly satisfactory result to 
himself, as well as for posterity. 

In many noble houses Gilbert was made welcome, and the 
Duke of Leinster, the Marquis of Ormonde, Lord Arundel of 
Wardour, the Earl of Leicester, the Marquis of Drogheda, 
Lord de Vesci, Lord Talbot de Malahide, Lord Granard, 
Lord Gormanston, the Earl of Meath, the Earl of Fingall, 
and others, generously opened their muniment rooms to his 

The work on the National Manuscripts of Ireland included 
not only the most perfect reproduction of Irish illuminated 
and other historic writings, but also an "account" of the 

^ From the Fourth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records in 
Ireland, 1872, page 21. 



same, forming a valuable volume of history in itself, the whole 
requiring an intimate knowledge of every page of our country's 
annals, and of every piece of ancient, or mediaeval, or even 
later important writing connected with the history of Ireland 
from the date of its earliest records. 

In 1 87 1 he began to superintend, at Southampton, the 
process of the photozincographing of his selections for the 
first part of the " Facsimiles of the National Manuscripts." 

From Sir Henry yames, 

"• Ordnance Survey Office, Southampton, 

"March 16, 1867. 

" I am glad you have undertaken to make out a list of the 
National Manuscripts in Ireland which we can copy, so that 
we shall be able to have a series for Ireland like those we are 
publishing for England and Scotland. If you commence 
with the ' Book of Kells,' the ' Book of Armagh,' and * Libre 
Uidre,' selecting about six or eight pages of each, and bringing 
down the series in chronological order, as perfect as you can, 
I think you could make the Irish series as perfect and as 
interesting as those we are publishing. We can assist you 
from the Record Office and British Museum by documents 
intimately connected with the history of Ireland, and I will 
ask Mr. Sanders, the officer from the Record Office who is here 
in charge of the manuscripts, to give a helping hand in this." 

From the Same, 

"Southampton, March 23, 1867. 

" I am glad to hear that you are making some progress 
in the selection of the specimens. I quite agree with you in 
thinking it is desirable to divide the Irish series in the way 
you mention, but this is a matter which is entirely in your 
own hands. I only wish that the original intention should be 
kept in view as far as possible, viz. to illustrate the change in 
the languages and writing by as perfect a set of documents 
as possible. We shall only require the leaves of the 


manuscripts which it is proposed should be copied to be sent 
over, and I hope you will bring them yourself and transfer them 
to Mr. Sanders, who will give a receipt for them, and be answer- 
able for their safe custody. I enclose a photograph taken at 
Oxford of a page of a copy of the New Testament which 
belonged to Bede, and if you select any specimen from a 
copy of the New Testament which you have, perhaps it would 
be as well to select the parts containing the same passage, or, 
what would be better, the whole address. As soon as you can 
bring together a series of manuscripts which the R.I. Academy 
would like to see published in facsimile, Lord Talbot de 
Malahide, with Lord Dunraven and Mr. Monsell, would find, 
I think, no difficulty in getting the Treasury to sanction it." 

From Right Rev. Dr. Graves. 

" Westfield, Limerick, April 26, 1867. 

" My dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" It is very satisfactory to me to hear that there 
is a chance of our having our Record Department well 

" Your suggestion with respect to the work of the Brehon 
Laws Commission appears to me to deserve the most favour- 
able consideration. It would be the natural thing to do if 
the Record Department be well officered, as I have every 
reason to hope it will be. It will give me much pleasure to 
confer with you on this subject when I next go to Dublin. 
" Ever yours faithfully, 

"Charles Limerick." 

From W. Richardson, 

" Oudenburg, Ostende, July 22, 1871. 

" My dear John, 

" Do you remember Micawber ? — if you forget 
Wm. Richardson ! But I won't at the moment enter into 
our many reminiscences. How is your genial and excellent 
mother, and how are the young ladies ? 



" Strangely enough, your name has this moment recurred 
to me in connection with your doing some justice to a much- 
wronged man. I will at once mention the name of your late 
old friend Charles Haliday, as it is with reference to his only 
brother, Doctor Henry Haliday, who is resident here, that 
I write you. You will be as much surprised to hear of 
Charles Haliday's only brother being the resident British 
physician at Ostende, as I was myself when I first discovered 
the fact. I send you his card. Write to him if you like, but 
I think you might justly defer doing so until you announce 
to him that he has been made, as a slight honour to the 
memory of his brother, M.R.I. A. 

" Dr. Haliday, before coming here, filled the position (as 
doctor at Howth) of physician to the Earl, but no matter 
what position he filled, I ask you to do him a piece of tardy 
justice which he deserves at the hands of his countrymen- 
He became a Catholic from Conviction — the orange Wm. 
Richardson tells you so — and curse the dog that should seek 
to punish a man for his right of judgment ! 

" I will say no more, only to recommend this act of justice 
to you. You know that William Haliday, of the Court of 
Exchequer, was brother of these men — I mean William 
Haliday, the great Irish scholar — whilst Daniel Haliday (send 
me back his enclosed arms) was a member of your Society. 
" Quis dat cito daty 

" Semper idem^ 

" William Richardson." 

From J . T. Gilbert to his Sisters. 

" United Hotel, Charles Street, St. James's, London, 
" December 9, 1871. 

"My dear Sisters, 

" I received your notes and the papers. Sir Henry 
James had invited me to dine to-day at Southampton, but it 
was not possible for me to be there, as it was only this after- 
noon that I brought my work at the Record Office here 



towards a close. A Government officer has received orders 
to proceed to Southampton with the documents which I have 
selected here, and I expect to go down with him. On my 
return I shall have to be here at least two days, at the British 
Museum and the Archbishop of Canterbury's library at 
Lambeth. I may also have to go to Oxford. I am invited 
to Lady Hardy's this evening, and hope to go. I have not 
seen any one you know, and after my work is done it is too 
late to go about. The Prince of Wales's illness is the great 
subject of the day here. 

"Yours affectionately, 

"J. T. Gilbert." 

From the Same to the Same* 

" United Hotel, Charles Street, St. James's, London, 
" December 13, 1871. 

" My dear Sisters, 

" I started early yesterday morning for South- 
ampton. Sir Henry James was most attentive to me, 
brought me round the whole place himself, showed me 
everything of interest, and gave me a capital lunch. He is 
the director of the entire Ordnance Survey for the United 
Kingdom. You may judge of the extent of the place at 
Southampton when I tell you he has five hundred Royal 
Engineers at work in different departments of it. The con- 
tents of the manuscripts room cost three millions sterling ! 
It is completely fireproof, and guarded day and night. The 
day was so foggy that we could not see any distance, so I 
managed to despatch my business and get back to London. 
I have sent D. F. a card to say I would go down this evening 
to see him, if possible. I had to put in another day at the 
Record Office to-day to arrange further in connection with 
matters for Southampton. 

"Your affectionate brother, 

"J. T. G." 



His archaeological labours were meanwhile continued, and 
in 1869 Gilbert proposed to the Royal Irish Academy, as a 
work to be undertaken by them, the translation and editing 
of the ancient Irish books of great importance, treasured in 
their library, but inaccessible to all save scholars learned in 
the Irish language. This work he himself inaugurated by 
editing and publishing " Leabhar na h'Uidhri " and **Leabhar 
Breac ; " and, entering on the same undertaking with regard 
to the " Book of Leinster," he was cheered by the sympathy 
of all Celtic students and scholars throughout Europe. 

At this time, along with his responsibilities as Secretary 
to the Public Record Office, as Hon. Secretary to the Irish 
Archaeological and Celtic Society, and of his duties at the 
Royal Irish Academy as Member of the Council and Hon. 
Librarian, entailing the supervision of the library, he had 
other and weighty works of his own in preparation, and 
drove all these varied undertakings well together, holding 
the reins with ease and power. 

From Lord Talbot de Malahide. 

"Athenaeum, London, May 20, 1867. 

" My dear Gilbert, 

" I fear there is no chance of an increased grant 
to the R. I. Academy this year ; indeed I have not been able 
to speak to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the subject. 
However, he has pro^nised to take up the matter next year. I 
enclose you the correspondence between him and Gregory. 

" However, there is every prospect of our being able to 
get some assistance through the Board of Works. I am to 
supply Gregory with the particulars, which he will submit 
to the Secretary of the Treasury, and I trust that it will be 
arranged soon after the Derby. 

" Gregory has heard from Todd that the Petrie Collection 
is now in the market, but he thinks that it is too late. They 
certainly have made a mess of it. 

" Believe me, yours truly, 

"Talbot de Malahide." 



From George du Noyer, 

" Carrickfergus, July 24, 1867. 

" My dear Gilbert, 

" Thank you very much for your kind letter of this 
morning, and I quite agree with you in thinking it advisable 
to have a catalogue of the drawings of antiquities, which 
I presented to the Library of the R.I. Academy on a late 
occasion, and printed in the Proceedings of the Academy. 
I heard of some glorious gold torques, etc., having been 
lately sent to the Academy by my friend Dr. Moore, of 
Belfast, who showed me photographs of the twisted torque. 
With this exception, I have not heard of any antiquities 
having been lately discovered in this neighbourhood, but if 
such should be my good fortune, I shall at once secure them, 
if I can, for the Academy. Apart from geological matters, 
the only really interesting find on my part is that of numerous 
worked flints in the undisturbed sand and gravel which over- 
lies the * drift ' marl clay all over this tract, and along the 
opposite shore of Belfast Lough. For a long time I was 
under the impression that these chipped flints were fragments 
of the naturally crushed flint which occur in the upper portion 
of the chalk, and also in ' drift * over it, dressed by human 
hands to fit them for the purposes intended. A late dis- 
covery, however, of a spot where these chipped flints occur in 
thousands, a small mound in the shore of Larne Lough, shows 
me that they are ALL artificial. I have collected many 
hundreds of these curious implements with a view to writing 
a paper on the subject. 

"Yours very truly, 

" George du Noyer." 

From Dr. Wilde. 

" I, Merrion Square, W., Dublin, September i. 

' Dear Gilbert, 

" If I possibly can, I will attend the committee 
for the purchase of gold articles on Friday. Can you tell 



me anything about them, or refer me to some one for informa- 
tion respecting them, as Clibborn is not in the R.I.A. ? If 
you could call some day, I would show you a grand additional 
collection of Beranger's drawings and writings, since we last 
spoke on the subject. 

" Yours, 

" W. R. Wilde." 

From Lord Talbot de Malahide. 

" Malahide Castle, August 24, 1867. 

" My dear Gilbert, 

" I enclose you a letter I have received from Sir 
T. Larcom on the subject of treasure trove. Perhaps you 
would be kind enough to supply me with the necessary 
information relative to the gold ornaments. The present 
officials of the Treasury seem to be in a delightful state of 
ignorance on the subject of what has been done in this 

" Believe me, yours very truly, 

"Talbot de Malahide." 

From Adolphe Pictet. 

"Geneve, 21 Novembre, 1868. 
" D^cidement vous me comblez, vous me gatez, et je ne sais 
en verite comment vous remercier de votre obligeance. Grace 
k votre bienveillante intercession je me trouverai en possession 
d'un ensemble de materiaux qui me seront infiniment precieux 
pour mes travaux, et que j'aurais eu quelque difficulte a me 
procurer a Taide de mes propres ressources. J'en suis extreme- 
ment reconnaissant, et je vous prie aussi de vouloir bien 
transmettre mes remerciments a la Commission des Brehon 
Laws pour ce precieux cadeau. II aura pour moi un double 
interet, comme monument historique et au point de vue de la 
langue. Sous ce dernier rapport, il me fera attendre avec 
plus de patience la publication des glossaires de O'Curry, que 
je regrette bien de voir retardcr si longtemps. 



** En retour des services que vous me rendez je voudrais 
pouvoir au moins vous envoyer une etymologie sure pour le 
nom de lieu dont vous me parlez. Vous savez, toutefois, a 
quel point les etymologies de ce genre sont incertaines quand 
on no possede plus les noms sous leurs formes primitives, et 
cela parait etre le cas pour celui que vous mentionnez. Je 
crois, cependant, comme vous, que son origine premiere est 
scandinave, et voici ce que je conjecture. 

" En ancien norse, hagi hag-lendi signifiait pascuum, ager 
pascuus, de haga, concinnare, ordinare, d'ou secondairement, 
hegna^ circum sepire, aggere munire. Cf. le suedois hage 
hdgn, sepes, septum, et domus ; I'anglo-saxon, haga, haegy 
agellus, mansus, villa, hege^ ^^gg^, sepes, septum (d'ou I'anglais, 
hedge^ etc.) I'ancien allemand hagian^ hagan, tueri, custodire, 
ga-hag, septum hag, hac, urbs, hegga, sepes, vallum ; d'ou 
plusieurs noms de lieux, comme Heggeloh, Heggehol, etc. (v. 
Graff Sprechschatz. v. cite). 

" A cote de la racine hag se place hug avec le sens plus 
abstrait de curare, cogitare, etc., mais les derives de I'une et de 
I'autre racine passent souvent du materiel au spirituel, et vice 
versa. Ainsi, Ton trouve, en gothique, htigs, gen. htcgsis, 
praedium, et en danois, haug, hortus, pascuum. 

"C'est, je crois, a ce groupe qu'il faut rattacher votre 
Hogges. Ce nom, toutefois ne peut etre du scandinave pur, 
si, comme tout semble I'indiquer, c'est un pluriel en es, car la 
terminaison norse est ar. D'un autre cote Farticle le dans la 
forme Le Hogges (pour Les }) ne peut s'expliquer que par le 
normand francise, ou par I'anglo-normand, et I'identite du 
normand Les Hogges, que vous citez (maintenant encore Les 
Hogues, dans le departement de I'Eure), rend la chose plus 
certaine encore. Dans celui de Seine et Oise il y a aussi un 
hameau qui s'appelle La Hogue (la grande et la petite). 
Peut-on historiquemcnt admettre cette influence franco ou 

" C'est ce que vous deciderez, sans doute, en pleine 
connaissance de causes. 

"Je crois, en resume, que Hogges, ou I^es Hogges a du 




signifier primitivement pascua, praedia, ou septa. Au meme 
groupe germanique se lient les nombreux Haag, Hag, Haye, 
Haze, La HaiCy etc., qui se trouvent en Belgique et en 

From the Same, 

*' Geneve, 25 Septembre, 1868. 
"Je vous remercie infiniment de I'accueil favorable que 
vous voulez bien faire a ma demande d'informations au sujet 
des cours d'eau de I'lrlande, et je m'empresse de vous 
adresser les details plus precis que vous me demandez sur 
la nature de ces informations ainsi que sur la forme a leur 

" Ce que je desire en these generale c'est un catalogue 
aussi complet que possible des noms irlandais, surtout des 
plus anciens des cours d'eau de votre ile. Si les materiaux 
rassembles en vue d'une topographic de I'lrlande sont, comme 
je Tespere, pourvus d^mdices, il ne serait pas difficile d'en 
extraire les noms en question, dans le cas contraire le travail 
serait, sans doute, plus considerable. Quant a la forme a 
donner aux articles de ce catalogue elle pourrait etre tres 
concise, et a peu pres comme suite. 

" 1°. Le nom irlandais, le plus anciennement connu du 
cours d'eau, fleuve, riviere, torrent, ou ruisseau, avec son 
nom actuel, son lieu geographique, et son caractere comme 

2°. Le sens probable de ce nom en irlandais. 
" 3". Le caractere distinctif du cours d'eau que son nom 
peut exprimer, couleur, rapidite, etc. Ainsi, par ex : 

Maigh, the Maigue, comte de Limerick, affluent du 
Snannon. — Cf p. i. maighis, eruption of water, breach 
(O'Reilly Diet.), etc. 

''SuccayXhQ Suck, affluent du Shannon; small mountain, 
stream, sinuous and floody. (Hy Mani. p. 82.) 
" Sens probable 

" Je crains bien un peu d'etre indiscret en demandant tant 



de choses, et je me resigne d'avance a accepter avec recon- 
naissance ce que vous pourrez me fournir dans la mesure du 
possible. Des donnees meme restreintes pourront m'etre 
tres precieuses pour mon travail comparatif. II est de fait 
que plusieurs noms gaulois de rivieres se retrouvent comme 
tels en Irlande. Par ex : Samara et Samair, ancien nom de 
VErne, Glana^ plusieurs cours d'eau, et Glan (tioprat, a well, 
Martyrol. p. 238), i.e, pure ; Ditbis et Diibh, the black (Sligo. 
Magh Leana. p. 61), etc., etc. — Je ne doute pas qu'il ne s'en 
presente encore beaucoup d'autres. Vous concevez a quel 
point le glossaire de O'Curry me serait precieux pour les 
questions etymologiques, et pourquoi je deplore de plus en 
plus les retards qui s'opposent a sa publication." 

From Dr. Whitley Stokes. 

" Simla, India, May 26, 1869. 

" I am delighted to hear of your project to lithograph 
'Leabhar nah'Uidrij'and am early looking forward to receiving 
the proofs which you promised to send me. I have a careful 
transcript of the first few leaves of the manuscript which I 
made at the beginning of 186 1. It breaks off at the Imram 
mraig Alailduin. So I shall probably be able to check the 
accuracy of the proofs. 

" There is a well-written copy of * Leabhar Breac * by 
Eugene O'Curry in the Library of Trinity College. Could 
not this be photozincographed as Domesday Book has been 
done at the Ordnance Office, Southampton ? With copies of 
two such splendid manuscripts as * L. na h'Uidhri ' and * L. 
Breac ' foreigners like Ebel and Ascoli, and exiles like me, 
would be able to work as well abroad as if we were in Ireland. 

" As to the tract on prosody in the * Book of Ballimote,* 
I shall be very glad indeed to get the copy which you so 
kindly offer. O'Donovan, as doubtless you know, speaks of 
the tract in his * Grammar,' p. 427. But I doubt if he ever 
studied it. Of course, I cannot, until I have perused it, make 


any promise as to publishing. Pray let the copy be as nearly 
as possible a facsimile, i.e, preserving the contractions and 
divisions of lines. 

" In the Report of the General Meeting of the Archaeo- 
logical Society held on April i, 1854, it is stated that the 
Irish text of Dr. Graves' ' Book of Oghams ' is printed off. I 
should like greatly to have a copy of this text. What is the 
cause of the delay in printing poor O'Curry's collections of 
words ? " 

From Prof, Henri Gaidoz. 

" Librairie Franck, 67, Rue Richelieu, Paris, 

" Le 2 Mai, 1870. 

"J'apprends avec plaisir qu'elle va (the R.I.A.) publier 
une serie Irlandaise et surtout le Leabhar na H-Uidhri. 
C'est sans doute une publication qui entraine de grands 
frais. . . . J'admire votre confiance dans le succes de la 
souscription Todd, Si elle reussit, j'espere que vous n'oubli- 
erez pas d'offrir le * Professorship ' a M. Ebel. Si, du reste, 
vous n'avez pas (comme je le presume) assez de souscriptions 
pour fonder une chaire, il faudrait employer cet argent a des 
publications, et non a une statue ou un buste inutile. . . . 
Je vous sais un gre infini de vos offres de service pour la 
Revue Celtique. Quand le i'^ numero aura paru (en fin ! ! !) 
vous verrez que je donne, ou plutot tache de donner d'apres 
mes renseignements, une chronique des faits interessants le 
public des etudes celtiques. Si alors paraissent dans les 
journaux de Dublin des articles que vous croyez devoir 
m'int^resser, moi et les lecteurs de la Revue (decouvertes 
d'antiquit^s, de MSS., articles de litterature celtiques, etc.) 
je vous serais reconnaisant de me les envoyer pour ma 
chronique. Je ferai peut-etre aussi plus tard appel a vous 
pour une idee que je mfaris que je realiserai peut-etre dans 
les n°^ suivants, de publier dans la Revue les comptes-rendus 
des seances des societes savantes des pays celtiques, et de 
celles qui hors de pays celtiques s'occupent quelque fois 



de choses celtiques. (Academic d'Irlande ; Soc. de Kil- 
kenny ; Soc. des Antiq. d'Ecosse ; Soc. Anthropologique de 
Londres ; Soc. Ethnologique de Londres ; Societe des Anti- 
quaires de Londres ; Societe des Antiquaires de France ; 
Society d'Arch6ologie de Paris ; Societe Anthropologique 
de Paris ; Society des Antiquaires du Rhin)." 

J. G. Prim, antiquarian of Kilkenny, writes in 1870 — 
*'The surname of the Bishop James, concerning whom 
you inquire, was Phelan. He succeeded David Roth in the 
see, but there was an interval between the death of the latter 
and the consecration of the former. Bishop Phelan received 
King James II. on his arrival in Kilkenny." 

Father Moore, Johnstown, Kilkenny, writes in the same 
year — 

" I would feel greatly obliged to you, as one of the best 
living authorities, to tell me all you know about Chief Baron 
Hely, who went circuit in 169 1. There is a tradition of his 
dying in Ennis, having sentenced a man to execution, the 
sentence not to be carried out till he should leave the place. 
He felt he was near his end, and ordered his body to be 
buried in Ennis, so that the man was reprieved." 

The Earl of Kildare asks — 

"Where are the originals of two letters from the Earl of 
Kildare to the Earl of Ormonde, of which there are extracts 
in the * History of the Viceroys,' also of the Act of Attainder, 
p. 454, the English Repealing Act, p. 460, and the Irish 
do., p. 464 ? " 

Members and officials of the Dublin Corporation con- 
tinued to look to Gilbert for enlightenment on their points of 
difficulty. Mr. Francis Morgan writes from the city law 
agent's office — 

" I have in preparation for the Municipal Corporation of 
Dublin a most important case for opinion of counsel involving 
very ancient title to a part of their property. I am most 
desirous to procure a copy of the first number of the ' His- 
torical and Municipal Documents of Ireland,' series, Lord 



Romilly, edited by yourself, and would ask the favour of 
the proper authority to let me have one immediately." 

From Sir T, Duffus Hardy, 

"Rolls House, London, June 12, 1867. 
"There can be no possible objection to your communi- 
cating to the Lord Mayor and Corporation of Dublin the 
decision of the Treasury relative to the publication of a 
volume of their muniments. I would have written to the 
Town Clerk myself, but I concluded that the Treasury would 
communicate with the authorities of Dublin Castle, who 
would have informed the Corporation of the result of their 

In May, 1870, Michael Angelo Hayes ^ wrote on a point 
of interest connected with the Municipal Records — 

" I know you are familiar with all the charters of the 
Corporation, and if you could give me any information as 
to the original constitution of the office of Marshal, I would 
feel much indebted to you. I have heard that this charter 
of James II. was registered in the Rolls Court in September 
of the same year in which it was granted. The point I am 
interested in discovering is, whether the office is by charter, 
or held during good behaviour, or during pleasure." 

Dr. W. K. Sullivan writes, in 1873, from Queen's College, 

" I cannot tell you how delighted I was to hear that the 
first batch of leaves of the * Book of Leinster ' had been 
received. That was a real triumph. I always dreaded some 
hitch at the last moment. Now we shall have a copy of the 
three most valuable manuscripts, which were in danger of be- 
coming illegible. Of course I shall get a copy of the ' Book 
of Leinster ' for the College Library. 

" I have got the material for one sheet of the * Tain Bo 

* A Dublin artist of note, at that time holding an official post in the Dublin 



Cuailgne' just ready, and am only awaiting some further 
information from O'Looney about what the printers have 
been doing in re the type, to send it in to them. I have 
impressed on O'Looney the necessity of our having a con- 
siderable portion in type by the end of February. We 
ought to have the volume out, if possible, during the sitting 
of Parliament. 

" I hope it is true that Les Eveques have made O'Looney 
Professor, and that they have given him a decent salary. 
I got a copy of the Evening Post from him, so I suppose it 
must be true. This takes a great load off my mind. As I 
told you when in Dublin, almost the only hesitation I had 
about leaving the Catholic University was on account of the 
helpless state that he would be in when I was gone. This 
appointment will keep him about the Academy and give him 
more liberty of action. I have written to him not on any 
account to undertake immediately the delivery of public 
lectures, as was promised for him in the Evening Post. He 
would do anything for you, and there is no one on whose 
judgment he relies more than on yours, or from whom he 
would take advice more readily. I wish, therefore, that you 
would impress upon him the danger of rushing before the 
public at once. A man may have a very profound know- 
ledge of a subject, may be a good teacher of the subject, 
and may be able to produce real enthusiasm among students 
(how many I have known who could do all this,) and yet be 
wholly unable, shall I say absolutely incompetent, to deliver 
a public lecture." 

In 1873 Gilbert was requested by Dr. Woodlock, rector 
of the Catholic University, to deliver a course of lectures 
on history in connection with that institution ; to which 
proposal he was obliged to send the following reply : — 

" Villa Nova, Blackrock, Dublin, 

" November 7, 1873. 

"My dear Dr. Woodlock, 

"It would be out of my power to enter on the 
matter proposed in your kind note, as the extensive and 


laborious literary works on which I am at present engaged 
tax all my energies to the utmost, and even occupy all my 
extra official hours. 

" Believe me to be, 

" Yours very sincerely, 

"J. T. Gilbert." 

He was, indeed, overworked, and much in need of the 
few days' holiday which he stole from his labours at 
Southampton, and enjoyed with his friend Denis Florence 
MacCarthy at Bournemouth. 

From the Diary of D. F. MacCarthy, 

April 12. — Gilbert called and asked me to walk over 
to Villa Nova and look at the proofs of the * Selections 
from Irish Manuscripts,' edited by him under the direction 
of the Master of the Rolls. Exquisite letters, etc., from 
the 'Book of Kells.' Stopped to dine with him and his 

''April 14. — W. K. Sullivan being in town, Gilbert sent 
me a card, asking me to dine with him at Villa Nova. . . . 
Very agreeable evening. 

'' AiLgust 9. — Dined at J. J. MacCarthy's with Gilbert, 
A. O'Hagan, Fr. Meehan, P. J. Smyth, M.P., Charles Hart, 
Dr. Joyce, Edward Fottrell, to meet Sir Charles Gavan Duffy. 
Gilbert and I left him at the Shelbourne Hotel. 

'' Atigust 17. — Philippa Gilbert called and pressed me to 
go and dine at Villa Nova." 

" On the 19th of September in this year," writes Mr. John 
MacCarthy, " Mr. Gilbert and my father went on a few days' 
trip together to Bournemouth, the New Forest, and the Isle 
of Wight. This tour is referred to in some letters, from which 
the following are extracts : — 



" United Hotel, Charles Street, St. James's, London, 

"Sunday, September 20, 1874. 

"I arrived here from Manchester about 6 o'clock last 
evening, and found Gilbert still staying in the hotel. We 
have just been to Farm Street church, and he has gone to 
pay some visits at Kensington. . . . He is urging me to go 
to Oxford or the south coast for a few days. I feel a strong 
inclination to return home at once ; but as I am here, I shall 
probably join him in this excursion, which indeed we both 

" Belle Vue Hotel, Bournemouth, 

"September 23, 1874. 

" Gilbert and I spent a very agreeable day, on yesterday, 
in visiting some interesting places in the neighbourhood of 
this attractive watering-place. We went by train in about 
ten minutes to Christchurch, a small town four or five miles 
off, to visit the noble Priory Church there. As I enclose two 
photographs of this ancient structure, I need not attempt any 
description of it. It contains a number of monuments — 
seven marble slabs and an elaborate cenotaph of Shelley, 
erected to his memory by his son, Sir Percy Shelley, who 
lives in this neighbourhood. I enclose a photograph of this 
also, which gives a pretty good idea of the monument. After 
visiting the church, Gilbert and I walked down by the 
meadows to the river Stour, where we crossed by a ferry 
and walked back by Boscombe, where we saw the residence 
of Sir Percy Shelley — a large but not particularly attractive 
looking mansion. We then visited a mineral spring, or spa, 
close to the sea, and returned to Bournemouth by the strand 
— a rather fatiguing walk, as the sand was very soft and dry. 
I asked for the Catholic church here, and was directed to 
a magnificent building called St. Peter's, to which a very 
lofty tower has just been added. This is the great Ritual- 
istic church of the town, the rector being, I believe, the 
well-known Rev. Mr. Bennett. In the grounds about the 
church, which are beautifully laid out as a cemetery, there 


are a considerable number of graved, almost every one of 
which has a white marble cross, some of them resembling 
our own dear one at Glasnevin. Among the graves which 
had not a cross was a large one, surrounded by a hedge of 
ivy, in which are the remains of William Godwin and Mary 
WoUstonecraft Godwin, removed from St. Pancras' Ceme- 
tery, London, by their grandson, Sir Percy Shelley, as well 
as those of his mother, the poet's wife. Close to this I came, 
to my great surprise, upon a rather plain headstone erected 
to the memory of the wife of Daniel MacCarthy, Esq., and 
daughter of the late Admiral Sir H. Popham, who died 
July 3, 1847, aged forty years. The hotel where we are 
staying is nicely situated close to the sea and the pier. It 
is the hotel at which Aubrey de Vere always stops in his 
annual visit, and, by a curious accident, I occupy his room. 
He left Bournemouth about a fortnight ago. Gilbert has to 
remain here until he receives an official letter from South- 
ampton, which he expects by every post. Our movements 
after that are uncertain." 


I 874-1875 

Proposal to abolish the office of Secretary to the Public Record 
Office, Ireland — Letters. 

In 1874 the proposal to abolish the position of Secretary of 
the PubHc Record Office in Ireland was first mooted, giving 
occasion for the following correspondence : — 

From y . T. Gilbert^ Secretary of the Public Record 
Office, Dublin, to Sir Thomas Duffus Hardy, 
Deputy Keeper of the Public Record Office, 

"January 9, 1874. 

"My dear Sir Thomas, 

" The Treasury have expressed their opinion to 
the Master of the Rolls that the office of Secretary here should 
be abolished, and that the official duties now belonging to 
the post should be assigned to the Assistant Deputy Keeper. 

" The proposed abolition is entirely against the views of 
the Master of the Rolls, who, on public grounds, would regard 
it as a grave calamity to the Department, totally irrespective 
of the present holder of the post. Their lordships name no 
date for abolition, and as there is a very strong feeling among 
some of those of the highest rank in Ireland on the subject, it 
is perhaps possible that it may not be carried out in my time, 
but that some arrangement as to editing may be conjoined 
with the office, as hinted at by the Treasury committee of 
inquiry, and approved of by the Master of the Rolls. 



Perhaps you would kindly let me have your views on 
the matter. It appears difficult to see how anything in the 
way of publication could be undertaken with so small a staff 
as assistant-keeper, two first-class clerks, and six second-class. 
With the sanction of the Master of the Rolls, I have applied 
to the present Lord Lieutenant, who appointed me when last 
here, asking him to move the Treasury that I may not be 

" Any advice you will give me in this matter will be very 
gratefully received by 

Yours very sincerely, 

"J. T. Gilbert." 

From the Same to the Same, 

"Villa Nova, Blackrock, February 5, 1874. 

"My dear Sir Thomas, 

" Thinking that you would like to hear as to the 
Treasury committee of inquiry on this office, I enclose a 
copy of the portion of the draft report which would be most 
likely hereafter to be applied to your Department. 

" The draft report was submitted to the Deputy Keeper 
for his concurrence, but he has declined to agree to the 
portions which state that the Secretary could be done with- 
out,^ and that the duties are slight. The Master of the Rolls, 
when the report comes before him, as head of the Depart- 
ment, will, I believe, speak even more strongly than the 
Deputy Keeper on those points. 

"The present remuneration of Secretary and Assistant 
Keeper is equal. It is proposed to give an increase to each 
and to put the other officers on the same scale as those in your 
Department. This, so far as the Secretary is concerned, 
would appear scarcely equitable, as while others were advanced 
to the full London scale, he would be much under it, and, 
moreover, have new duties imposed upon him. 

* See Appendix. 


I write to-day to the Secretary of the committee at the 
Treasury, Mr. G. W. Hamilton, directing attention to this 
point, and suggesting that the committee may perhaps think 
well of reconsidering their draft proposal with respect to 
amount of salary for combined duties of Secretary and Editor 
of Record Publications. I mention to him that the Treasury 
was good enough in 1870 (in a letter to Lord Romilly) to 
write that in their lordships' opinion I possessed very special 
and exceptional fitness for record work such as they now 
propose that I should undertake. 

"The committee, I believe, is anxious to do what is right, 
and I hope they will consult some competent record autho- 
rities before they finally decide. I shall be greatly obliged if 
you will kindly advise me in this matter. 

" Yours very sincerely, 

*' J. T. Gilbert." 

From J , T. Gilbert to the Right Hon, Edward 
Sullivan^ Master of the Rolls in Ireland, 

" Villa Nova, Blackrock, February 5, 1874. 

" Dear Master of the Rolls, 

"When the draft report of the Treasury com- 
mittee comes before your honour, as head of their Depart- 
ment, I beg that you will afford me an opportunity of 
submitting for your consideration some observations on those 
parts of it which refer to the Secretary and his office. 

" Your honour's faithful servant, 

"J. T. Gilbert. 

" P.S. — I should have mentioned that the draft report is 
a confidential document. I have given the names of the 
committee at the end of the copy of the extract. 

"J. T. G." 



From y. T, Gilbert to Sir T, D. Hardy, 

" Public Record Office of Ireland, 

" Four Courts, Dublin, 

"July 22, 1874. 

''My dear Sir Thomas, 

"The report of the committee of inquiry into 
this office, of which you heard some time ago, has since been 
submitted by the Treasury to the Master of the Rolls in 
Ireland. I am informed that his honour, after careful con- 
sideration of the subject, has objected in the strongest manner 
to the abolition of the office of Secretary. He would approve 
of the proposal of the committee that literary or editorial 
work should be considered as part of the Secretary's official 
duties. The recommendation of the Master of the Rolls, if 
carried out, will effect what I think you always considered 
(for the interest of the public service) should eventually be 
done here, and I would ask you, if the matter comes before 
you, to give it such support as it merits. 

" I hope to be in England in September and October 
next, and to have the pleasure of seeing you there. 

"Meanwhile I remain, 

" Very sincerely yours, 

" J. T. Gilbert." 

From the Same to the Same. 

"Dublin, July 24, 1874. 

"My dear Sir Thomas, 

The only portions of the report of which I have 
a full copy are those which relate to the Secretary. The 
enclosures will explain themselves in conjunction with the 
extract from the report which I sent you some time since. 

" I will give you more of such other matters in the report 
as are likely to interest you. You will observe that the 
Master of the Rolls has spoken very decidedly as to the 


Secretaryship, and his views will be strongly supported in 
Parliament, if not carried out. 

" Very sincerely yours, 

" J. T. Gilbert." 

From Sir T. D. Hardy. 

"Rolls House, London, July 28, 1874. 

"My dear Gilbert, 

" I have carefully read and considered the remarks 
of the Master of the Rolls of Ireland and your Deputy 
Keeper ; both are admirable, and, I think, irresistible respect- 
ing the non-abolition of the office of Secretary. I know it 
would be wholly impossible to do away with the office on 
this side of the water, and I firmly believe it would be both 
injudicious and prejudicial to abrogate the Treasury minute 
creating the place. When the Irish Public Record Act was 
passed, the office of Secretary was not mentioned in the 
Act, and I had several interviews with Mr. G. A. Hamilton 
on the subject of the omission, and I have just reason to 
believe that what I then urged on the necessity of having a 
secretary was the cause of the Treasury minute being made. 
I scarcely agree with his honour that the Secretary ought 
to be editor-general of all record works, for if many were 
undertaken, the whole of his time would be occupied in 

" Ever sincerely yours, 

" T. DuFFUS Hardy." 

From J. T, Gilbert to Dr. W. K. Stdlivan^ 
President, Qtieens College^ Cork, 

" Villa Nova, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, 

"January, 1875. 

"My dear Sullivan, 

" Many thanks for your note. The matter referred 
to is shortly this. The Treasury, in opposition to the dis- 
tinctly stated opinion, both of the Master of the Rolls, head 



of the Record Department, and the Deputy Keeper (S. 
Ferguson), have decided that the office of Secretary, which, 
as you know, I hold, should be abolished, and its duties 
discharged by the Assistant Deputy Keeper, Mr. Latouche, 
who is to be paid ;£'ioo a year additional to his salary on this 
condition, and to commence on the completion of the abolition 
of the Secretary. For the latter (the completion of the 
abolition) no date is named, but we may assume it is intended 
to come on at any moment. 

" The Master of the Rolls is very indignant at the matter, 
and has authorized me to say so, and pledges himself to do 
all he can for the maintenance of the post, the abolition of 
which he considers a serious blow to the Department. I saw 
the Duke of Leinster on yesterday, and he expresses himself 
as equally opposed to the measure, and offered his best 
services in the warmest manner. He suggested that a state- 
ment should be drawn up, signed by about 12 of the most 
important people in Ireland, appealing to the Government 
not to carry out the design, and he will himself go with it, 
and a deputation of 3 or 4 to the Lord Lieutenant, as on 
public grounds, totally irrespective of the individual. It will 
take some days to get all this done. Meanwhile I have 
addressed an official letter, myself, to Sir M. Hicks-Beach, by 
authority of the Master of the Rolls. I have asked Sir M. 
H.-B. to bring the matter under the notice of Lord Aber- 
corn (by whom I was appointed), and to move him to request 
the Treasury to reconsider the matter, and to leave me 
undisturbed so long as I perform the duties satisfactorily. 

" You now see how matters stand, and I want you to give 
me all the aid in your power, and in every important quarter 
you can, at once. 

" It is most annoying to be treated in this way, just as 
some of the fruits of one's long labours are approaching 
maturity. The first part of the National Manuscripts will be 
published in a few days. The appearance of this splendid 
volume ought to influence public opinion in my favour. 

"If I can I will send you by this post a copy of an 


account of the first part, of which (the account) a small 
number has been printed. Now, like a good friend, set your 
pen to work in such way among your most influential 
acquaintances as will be likely to give a check to the move, 
the sources of which you will probably guess at. 

"With kind remembrance from us all here to you all 
at Cork, 

" I am, yours ever, 

" J. T. Gilbert." 

Notwithstanding the anxiety occasioned by the threatened 
abolition of the Secretaryship of the Public Record Office, 
Dublin, Gilbert continued to carry on with spirit his duties 
in that position, together with his many other undertakings, 
during the period that elapsed before the completion of the 

From Dr. Sainuel Rawson Gardiner, 

" January 22. 

" I am very anxious to procure a dispassionate opinion 
on Brewer's new volume of the * Carew Papers,' dealing with 
the plantations of Munster and Ulster. It would give me 
great pleasure if you would allow me to send you the volume. 

"Any sort of literary intelligence such as you mention 
will be very welcome to us, and if you can suggest to us any 
historical work appearing in Ireland as worth noticing, we 
should be very glad to hear of it. Perhaps you would let us 
have notices of the National Manuscripts as they appear." 

From the Same, 

" February 10. 

" I have no doubt that the editor (Dr. Appleton) will be 
delighted to have the aid of Mr. MacCarthy. But as non- 
historical matters are out of my special department, perhaps 
the best way would be for you to ask him what sort of books 
he would like to take, whether general literature of all periods, 
or only that of Calderon's contemporaries." 




From Denis Florence MacCartky. 

" February 12. 

" I am very much obliged to you for writing to your 
London friend on the literary matter you so kindly suggested 
to me. The Department of Spanish Poetry, in which I have 
always been most interested, is that of the Drama, not ex- 
clusively of Calderon's time, but of his predecessors and 
followers. There is, however, no form in which Spanish 
poetry has found an expression that is altogether unknown 
to me, so that there is no necessity to limit the discretion of 
the editor to any particular period or subject." 

From Dr. S. R. Gardiner. 

" March 31. 

" If you thought you could help us with an article on the 
two Calendars together, say, in three or four months' time, 
we should be extremely obliged. Brewer's view that the 
Irish were not injured by the Ulster Colony is, I believe, 
new, and I should be very glad to see an estimate of its 

From the Same. 

" April 8. 

" Can you be kind enough to tell me of any one who 
would be able to give a fair opinion on Froude's two volumes } 
Lecky's name has been suggested to me, but I do not like 
to ask him before hearing from you, as you will know better 
than I do how far he is fitted." 

From the Same, 

" May 19. 

" I have sent you the first volume of the ' Monasticon 
Hibernicum,' thinking that you might let us have a short 
note about it when you are at leisure, reserving a further 
notice for the appearance of the whole work." 


From W. H, Hardinge, 

" May 10. 

I feel much gratified in acknowledging receipt of sixth 
report (1874) of the Public Records of Ireland. The 
steady progress-making in the transfer to, and arrangement 
of, the records in the Public Record Office is, to me, very 
satisfactory ; but your clear, improving, and welcome report 
announcement of the first part of the * Facsimiles of National 
Manuscripts of Ireland' contained in the volume claims admira- 
tion, respect, and gratitude. To say the truth, I did not give a 
British Government credit for becoming the instrument of the 
publication of ecclesiastical and lay history which places old 
Erin among the most enlightened, learned, and Christian 
nations existing from 34 to 800 A.D., and which also shows 
that she was no insignificant Isle from the time of Isaiah to 
the birth of the Lord and Saviour. 

I have great hopes that the friendly intercourse of the 
nations of the present day and the love and labour of archaeo- 
logical explorers will, by successful discoveries, enable you to 
add more and substantial evidence to that which you have 
given through your new and unquestionable testimony to the 
condition of our countrymen and their institutions preceding 
the * light of other days,' which your energy and ability has 
so happily revealed. 

" I shall look forward with anxiety to open and feast upon 
the first part of the Facsimiles." 

From y. T, Gilbert to Lord Talbot de Malahide, 

" April 21, 1874. 

" I received your note on yesterday, and at once arranged 
with Hodges and Foster to forward to you the three volumes 
of the Brehon Laws Commission. If you will kindly indicate 
to me the portions of the transactions wanted by the Lisbon 
Academy, I shall have them forwarded through Quaritch as 
soon as possible. 



" The Portuguese celts you mention would be very inter- 
esting for comparison with the Irish ones in our Museum. 

" I should feel very much obliged if you would give me 
a reference to any good specimen of the writing of the Duke 
or Duchess of Tyrconnell of 1688, or of Archbishop Peter 
Talbot, such as you would think suitable for the series of 
' Facsimiles of the National Manuscripts of Ireland ' on which 
I am engaged." 

From y . O. Westwood, 

" Oxford, November 7. 
" I am greatly obliged to you for getting me a copy of 
the paper on the Ardagh Chalice. It is a wonderful piece. 
I think it older than Lord Dunraven puts it. I had the 
pleasure of seeing the *^Book of Kells ' at the British Museum 
a few days ago. They have photographed the great Xpi, so 
that we shall have three copies of that page. I am trying to 
get a publisher for a second (companion) volume to my big 
book. I do not know whether to put more A. Sax. and Irish 
Manuscripts into it, or confine it to Continental examples. 
When is there a chance of the continuation of the R.I. A. 
Catalogue with the ecclesiastical articles ? There needs 
another plate, with the ornamental details carefully worked 
out, of the Ardagh Cup." 

From D. H, Kelly, 

" Araghty Grange, Fuerty, Roscommon, 

" October 24. 

" Thanks for your note. My translation of the b|iU)3Jt) 
•d4 Co3-d (about which, I suppose, Hennessy wrote to you) 
is still in a very inchoate condition, and will require much 
before it could go to press. Imprimis, the text I worked 
upon is copied from the Ordnance Survey Letters, and would 
require collation with the original. In secnndis, there is one 
portion which refers to StJ^b ^dUt), and which I suspect 



really belongs to the text on the btiujsttj -oA ro4^34, which, 
if I mistake not, was situated in the vicinity of that moun- 
tain in Wicklow or Dublin, and not in Westmeath. In the 
third place, I must look up the history of the period and get 
informed about sundry localities. 

" Fourthly, I should like to have extracts from the Brehon 
Laws, or other equally reliable authority, anent Bally- 
biatach's. Fifthly, identification of places named. If all 
these were accomplished, and Hennessy would let his xxt 
X50d|\3<l run in couples with my td4 Co34t, they might make 
an interesting little bit of history, throwing a bright light on 
Celtic hospitality, and which would not be unworthy of a 
place in the R.I.A.'s Fasciculus. If you would let me know 
the result of the Board of Works' communication, ^nd whether 
the Museum has a chance of being completed, I would take 
it as a great favour." 

From Henry O' Neill. 

" 109, Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin, 

"January 2, 1875. 

" From the time I issued the first part of my work on the 
Crosses till now, rumours have reached me that, being only 
an artist, I have produced an artistic publication, it is true, 
but one wanting in that accuracy which an antiquarian 
requires. Even the R.I. Academy has not scrupled to charge 
me with resorting to unworthy personalities instead of some- 
thing of antiquarian value in the text of that work, and, still 
later, the authors of the ancient inscriptions now publishing 
by the Kilkenny Arch. Society have published in their pro- 
spectus the injurious assertion that the inscriptions I have 
published in my work, being in perspective , are of little value 
to the antiquarian — the fact being that there is only one 
inscription in perspective, that to the Kilamery Cross, and 
that inscription I have given in the text. I enclose a letter 
from Mr. Doolin respecting the correctness of my prints. 
I would be extremely sorry to descend to personalities 


against any man, and feel that the statement in the Academy's 
Catalogue, and that by Mr. Stokes and Dr. Reeves, is not 
alone painful to me, but, I need hardly say, being incorrect, 
are unworthy of those who made them. Possibly with this 
you have nothing to do, but I think it may be well to place 
in your hands Mr. Doolin's letter, as it will refute the erroneous 
statements respecting my prints of the sculptured crosses." 

From Rev, Dr. Reeves. 

" November 6, 1874. 
" I suppose that your grand Fasciculus of Irish Manuscripts 
will soon be published. It ought to attract great notice and 
be very much prized as an important authority in one branch 
of palaeography. Pray tell me, is the second part of the 
* Leabhar Breac ' yet published ? The * Book of Leinster ' is 
prospering, I hope, in your hands. Have you seen Whitley 
Stokes* printed letter to Prof. Jellett upon the reproduction 
of this manuscript } " 

From y. T. Gilbert to Rev. Dr, Reeves, 

" Villa Nova, Blackrock, November 7, 1874. 

" My dear Reeves, 

" I am very glad to hear from you after so long 

an interval. 

" I return with many thanks the paper on Maellongte 
you were kind enough to lend me. 'Leabhar Breac' is com- 
pleted so far as the lithograph, and you will soon be asked to 
look at the proofs of the Title and Contents, now in the 
publisher's hands. When all completed and bound, it will be 
a very impressive monument of old Ireland. Do you re- 
member any old references to * Leabhar Breac ' ? It appears 
singular that Colgan and the Four Masters, and others of 
their day, should not have said something about it, but I 
cannot find that they did. I am delighted to hear that you 



are again thinking of the Bangor Antiphonary. I see no 
difficulty whatever in the way of its publication. When you 
are ready to go on, pray let me know, and I will go into all 
details with you. 

" The * Book of Leinster ' is steadily progressing. 

" By some mischance Whitley Stokes' letter to Jellett has 
not reached me. If you will lend me your copy you will 
much oblige, and I will return it speedily. At the same time, 
pray let me know if you have received the Fourth Report of 
the Historical Manuscripts Commission. It is about fifty 
pages, with a separate index of about two hundred pages. 
If you have not got it, I will try to supply the deficiency. I 
hope soon to be able to send you the first part of the ' Facsimiles 
of National Manuscripts of Ireland,' some copies of which are 
in the binder's hands. Did you hear of the strange voyage of 
the * Book of Kells,' and the consequent disturbance about it ? 

" Yours very sincerely, 

"J. T. Gilbert." 

From Rev, Dr. Reeves, 

"November 13, 1874. 

" I thank you for your letter and its enclosure.^ I wonder 
what craze could have led the Librarian to treat the * Book of 
Kells ' to such a trip. What would Todd say to such an act ? 

" Thank you for your kind offer about Report Four of the 
Manuscripts Commission. But I can save you on this occa- 
sion, for my Lord Enniskillen presented it to the Library, 
and there I have full use of it. 

" You ask me about the * Leabhar Breac,' whether I know 
any references to it among the old Masters. Well, indeed, 
I do not. Todd, in treating of the hymn Audite Omnes in 
his * Lib. Hymn, fascic.,' speaks of the copy in the * Leabhar 
Breac' as one which is not included in Colgan's enumeration." 

^ An article on the removal of the ' Book of Kells,' which had appeared in the 
Dublin newspapers. 



From E. Mattnde Thompson, 

" British Museum, London, November 2, 1874. 
" We have the ' Book of Kells,' but T.C.D. has taken fright 
and ordered it back." 

During these years of many various labours, Gilbert still 
kept up his active work as Hon. Secretary to the Irish 
Archaeological and Celtic Society, and continued to respond 
to the innumerable appeals from all sides for his help and 
sympathy in the historical and antiquarian undertakings of 
others. Few of his generous replies have been preserved, but 
the letters of request and acknowledgment speak to the 
point. It is difficult to make selection from the mass of such 
evidence which is before the biographer. 

From Sir W, R, Wilde, 

"January 26 [1874]. 

" In looking over my books, I find the old Icelandic 
Chronicle which you were good enough to lend me some 
years ago, which I did not know I had until I found your 
name in it this day. You must excuse me for having kept 
it so long, and blame yourself for not having nudged my 
memory about it before this. 

"Can you tell me whether the Market Cross of Dublin 
was ever engraved, and where ? 

" I have been in great want of Mason's * History of St. 
Patrick's.* It is not at present in the Library, R.I.A., and 
the notice of its borrower cannot be found. 

" You that are so learned might tell me, if you liked, where 
to find an account of the first introduction of cast bells for 
steeple ringing. 

You will be glad to hear that, looking for materials for 
Beranger, I discovered those of Austin Cooper and his book 
of drawings made in 1778." 


20 1 

From the Same. 

" February 10. 

" We are asking a few old friends upon Moytura cheer on 
Thursday, and also to cheer dear old Oscar on having obtained 
the Berkeley gold medal last week with great honour. You 
were always a favourite of his, and he hopes you will come." 

From the Same, 

" March 11. 

" Huband Smith has just been here looking after one of 
the Beranger books he lent me, and which you already saw. 
He bought it cheap from some bookseller on the Quays 
many years ago. He also says he wants it because Mr. 
Cooper is anxious to buy it. Now, I think it ought to be 
purchased by the Academy, and made public property. The 
Academy can afford more than Mr. Cooper would be willing 
to give for it." 

From the Same, 

"June 16. 

" Signor Morani called here yesterday, and I have asked 
him to dine on Thursday with a few old friends on a boiled 
leg of mutton — no party, as I am all alone. 

" I have applied to the National Board Commissioners for 
permission to erect the monument to the * Four Masters ' in 
their Lawn, but have not yet got a reply. As we have been 
refused the space opposite to the Mater Hospital, I have been 
thinking that the intermediate open space between SS. Michael 
and John's Chapel and the Quays would be a good site for 
the monument, but we must first ask the Corporation to fix 
a site. 

" Now I must get your help in the matter of my lecture 
upon Irish anthropology at Belfast, especially with regard to 
the Milesian race. I am reading Sullivan's book on the 
ethnology of the Irish, but he altogether ignores my investiga- 
tions thirty years ago." 



From the Same. 

" July i6. 

" It is an age since I saw yoxx, and I have lots of things to 
speak to you about. I am sure you were glad to hear of 
Oscar's great success at Oxford.^ 

" The National Board will not give us a site for the Four 
Masters' monument in their Lawn, so we will have to put up 
our cross in the space opposite SS. Michael and John's Chapel, 
as I see no better locality. J. J. MacCarthy has promised to 
draft a cross,^ value about £\20y and then I hope we will have 
another little evening meeting of those who have been here 

" I have been reading vol. i. of Sullivan's ' Commentary on 
O'Curry,' and have a great deal to say upon the subject. 

" I must have a long chat with you respecting the address 
at Belfast. The Milesians are my great historic difficulty. 
Such a lot of bosh has been written about them." 

From the Same. 

"July 26. 

"Come and dine to-morrow to meet the Five Masters 
M'Carthy, O'Donnell and Co." 

In this year Wilde's health began to decline. In November, 
he writes — 

" I have been very unwell. You might give me a call, as 
you know I can always see you in my buff, or get you up to 
my den. I am not up to dining at the Club. Procure me an 
early copy of the address, and come and tell me about it. 
Dr. Petrie ought to have been President, if Todd, Graves, 
Jellett, and others had not to be first provided for. Whose 
fault was all that } You know, and will, I hope, tell it some 
day before we meet in Paradise." 

' Ilis winning the Newdigate Prize at Oxford. 

2 Finally erected in the pleasure ground opposite the Mater Misericordife 
Hospital, Eccles Street, Dublin. 



From the Same. 

" December 27. 

" Can you refer me to any illustrations of the Palace of 
the Archbishops of Dublin in Kevin Street and at Tallaght ? 
Are there any references in your * History of Dublin ' to these 
structures ? Besides the illustrations, I am anxious to know- 
when these buildings passed from their ecclesiastical to 
secular uses. 

" I have at last seen the book of ancient drawings con- 
taining some of Beranger's, now in the possession of Huband 
Smith. I have just got upon the second of a couple of 
valuable antiquities for the Academy, one a rare form of 
gold fibula. When they are presented, I wish some of the 
officers would make such an exhibition thereof as would, by 
publication throughout the country, induce parties finding 
similar articles to send them to our museum. You may 
depend upon it that, irrespective of the vanity and egotism 
of the describer, the description of such articles will conduce 
to the increase of the museum." 

From John Finlayson, 

" 60, Baggot Street, Dublin, 

"Thursday, December 10, 1874. 

May I ask whether you have yet been able to lay your 
hand on ' Lombard's Tablet ' in Christ Church ? If you 
have, I shall feel greatly obliged by your giving me a copy 
of it. . . . I have just ascertained that the last payment 
made at Strongbow's tomb was in 1871, the head of the 
warrior serving as table on which the receipt was signed. 
Mr. John Sweeney, one of our sextons (from whom I had 
the information), supplied the pen and ink from the Vicar's 
robing-room and received two and sixpence gratuity for 
his attendance." 



From Hans C, Hamilton. 

Public Record Office, London, 

"January i8, 1875. 

" I have before me, while I am writing, the original letter 
of Hughe Tirone to the Lord Deputy of Ireland, dated the 
22nd of December, 1602, inclosed in a holograph letter from 
the Lord Deputy Mountjoy to Secretary Sir Robert Cecil, 
dated ' Athlone, 8 January, 1602-3/ 

"There never was any doubt, either among friends or 
enemies, of the ability and bravery of Hughe Tirone. Here 
is a genuine letter of which there can be no doubt, and I 
should think it is the most preferable of any to be photo- 

"There is also a submission of the 18 of October inclosed 
in the letter from the Lord Deputy and Council to Burghley, 
of 30 October, 1595. This has Tirone's signature. 

" Here also is an undoubted autograph of Aodh O'donill 
(Hugh O'Donnell) on one page only. 

" I have also before me Tirone's submission of 22 
December, 1597, inclosed in Sir G. Fenton's letter to Cecil 
of December 26." 

From the Same. 

"July 6,1875. 

" When I saw you in England you spoke of a narrative 
of the Ulster rebellion by an Irishman, which you were 
proposing to publish. Can you tell me if it has yet been 
printed.'* I am working just now at Wentworth's 'Govern- 
ment,' and such a narrative, though not directly bearing 
upon the matter, would be very valuable as illustrating the 
temper and feeling of the Irish. 

"If not printed, is it on the way to being printed.^ If 
not, would it suit our Camden Society } 

•* I suppose you cannot help me to any new material 
about Wentworth beyond what is in the Record Office ? 
Anything about the proposed Connaught plantation would 
be specially welcome." 


I 874-1 878 

Abolition of the office of Secretary to the Public Record Office, Ireland 
— Illness of Gilbert — Recovery and return to work — Facsimiles of 
the National Manuscripts of Ireland — Letters. 

A CRISIS in Gilbert's life was now at hand. The Treasury 
had resolved on an economic step in reducing the staff of 
the Public Record Office, Ireland, and ruled that a Deputy- 
Keeper with a certain number of clerks was sufficient for a 
"provincial" establishment It had been their intention, 
when reducing the staff of the Public Record Office in Dublin, 
to exclude the office of Secretary, which, however, had been 
created on the urgent representations of Sir Thomas Duffus 
Hardy. The economic spirit now asserted itself again, and, 
after the peculiar necessity and importance of the post in 
Ireland had been proved by eight years of invaluable work 
done by Gilbert, the order was given to abolish the office of 
Secretary to the Public Record Office in Ireland. A memorial 
signed by a large number of the most influential names in 
Ireland was of no avail, and it was made known that the 
abolition was to be effected. 

On January 4, 1875, Gilbert wrote to Sir Edward Sullivan — 

"My dear Master of the Rolls, 

" I need not say that the resolution as to the 
office of Secretary is most unwelcome intelligence. Present 
abolition would be attended with complications which I 
cannot contemplate without great uneasiness." 




There was, indeed, the most serious cause for uneasiness. 
In addition to the apparent destruction of the projects for 
noble work to be accomplished through the medium of an 
office which practically unlocked for him all the receptacles 
of hidden documentary treasure concerning his country, he 
had to contemplate the even more afflicting reverse of fortune 
to those he loved. Having before his entrance into the 
Record Office finally severed his connection with the lucrative 
business of his grandfather and father, he had taken on him- 
self the chief support of his mother and sisters, largely 
sacrificing pecuniary considerations to pursue those moderately 
remunerated labours, a desire for the achievement of which 
was the passion of his life ; and it now appeared that he 
had thus injured the delicate sisters who depended on 

Under a blow so doubly crushing, no wonder that his 
health gave way. Buoyant spirits and genial humour had 
enabled him to support the long strain of incessant labours 
hardly relaxed from boyhood, and the ardour of his hope 
and his love of work, even for work's sake, had hitherto 
carried him over all obstacles where even less sensitive 
natures might naturally have broken down. But the cata- 
strophe of this year, coming as an unexpected climax to 
overstrain, seriously affected his nervous system. A fever 
of anxiety was followed by a physical and mental depression 
with which he battled for a considerable time, fulfilling all 
his duties and carrying on the work of the National Manu- 
scripts ; but at last he yielded to the advice of physicians and 
friends, and consented to spend a year abroad under medical 
care, removed from the associations with, and sources of his 

Sir William Wilde, himself unwell at the time, wrote 
from Moytura, Mayo — 

"You are a nasty old crocodile not to have written me 
a line since we parted. I think it is exceedingly wrong of 
you not to have gone away for a while as I entreated of you, 
as did also your special medical adviser. Do tell me or get 



your sisters to write, what has been done in the matter of 
the office." 

Dr. Hayden wrote to Mary Gilbert — 

" I am glad to hear your brother has been induced to go 
away for a while. I expect the journey, change of scene 
and of society, will do him much good." 

Denis Florence MacCarthy came close to him as a brother 
in the hour of trial. Mary Gilbert writes to the poet — 

"A hundred thousand thanks for your kind and most 
welcome letter. It gave comfort and consolation to us all, 
even to poor J. T. I read it aloud to him, and he afterwards 
got it to read it for himself. It was so grateful to his sad 
heart to find sympathy from one whom he values so much. 
I asked him what you could do for him. He said, 'Many 
things ; but they would all be of no use.' " 

At such a crisis in life a man comes to know who are his 
real friends, and Gilbert had experience of this fact in some 
of the minor circumstances in which his failure of health 
involved him. His friend and medical adviser, Dr. Hayden, 
a member of the Royal Irish Academy, wrote to Miss Gilbert 
at this trying period — 

" I am glad to tell you his friends mustered in force last 
night, and that if there was an attempt made to disturb him 
in the Academy — which I doubt there was, except, perhaps, 
on the part of a few individuals — it was unsuccessful. He 
retains his office of Honorary Librarian." 

Another true friend wrote at this moment — 

From D. F, MacCarthy, 

"4, Charlotte Street, Bedford Square, London, W.C., 

"February 27, 1875. 

" Dear Miss Gilbert, 

" I really cannot tell you how grieved I am to 
read the sad account which you give me of my dear friend's 
health. It is really intolerable that to serve some petty 
private purpose, or to effect some paltry saving, a career of 



such activity and credit to the country should be interrupted. 
I can feel complete sympathy with him in his disappointment 
at the prospect of being severed from an institution the 
necessity for which was mainly pointed out by himself, and 
to which his learning, his talent, and his industry would have 
contributed such valuable assistance. I cannot think, how- 
ever, if this project of retrenchment is carried out, that with 
such eminent claims as he undoubtedly possesses, and with 
his host of influential friends, some arrangement in the way 
of compensation will not be made, which, however below his 
merits, may not be unworthy of his acceptance. With regard 
to his health, I think the worst is now over. In resuming 
his usual habits, I have every hope he will soon regain that 
activity of mind and cheerfulness of spirits that were so 
characteristic of him. Let me know how yourself and your 
dear sister are ? It is doubly distressing that all this additional 
anxiety should come upon you when, to a certain extent, you 
were both somewhat weakened by recent illness. You must 
resume all your planting and improvements at dear Villa Nova, 
which I hope to see in all its springtide beauty in April, if I 
survive in this dismal desert of London until then. Florence 
and John join me in kindest regards. 

" Ever yours, 

" D. F. MacCarthy." 

On St. Patrick's Day of the same year, MacCarthy writes 
to Mary Gilbert— 

" I wish I could thank you in my best way for your ever- 
welcome and never-forgotten gift of shamrocks, knowing as I 
do the great and pressing anxieties that you are experiencing 
at present. I could scarcely have expected, however much 
I might have wished, that this year you would have renewed 
a kindness to which I have been accustomed so long. It is 
all the more welcome, however, on that account, and I wish 
most sincerely that, in thanking you for it, I could strive to 
write something that might possibly cheer a little your 
depression and my own. To-day is black, cold, and harsh 



here, and if you have the same weather in Ireland, I question 
very much if it would do J. T. any great good to leave his 
own fireside and books for a journey either to London or 

From Sir Thomas Dufftis Hardy, 

" London, October 25, 1875. 

" Dear Miss Gilbert, 

" I assure you it was with the deepest sorrow I 
heard of your brother's sad indisposition and its cause, but I 
was in hope that by this time both would have been removed. 

" I will take care that the reason of his not sending in his 
report to the Commissioners of the Historical Manuscripts 
shall be explained to the Commission. 

Hoping that he will be very speedily restored to health, 
" Believe me to be very faithfully yours, 

''T. DuFFUS Hardy." 

While his friends were thus striving to ward off a blow 
which was much more destructive to archivistic efforts in 
Ireland than (as it proved) to Gilbert's individual career, the 
man who could hardly be induced to take holiday of a week 
from his multifarious engagements, left Dublin with a heavy 
heart to seek renewal of health in idleness and change of scene 
under circumstances which precluded him from the enjoyment 
of leisure and freedom from work. For more than a year his 
vigorous constitution struggled against the threats of disease. 
During his absence from home, his eldest and long-invalided 
sister, Eleanor, died ; Philippa, the second sister, rapidly de- 
clined in health ; and Mary, while soothing the dying moments 
of one and tending the sick-bed of another, followed in spirit 
the footsteps of the absent brother, for her devotion to whom 
she had been likened by their friends to the tender and 
strong-hearted Eugenie de Guerin. " I have a pain in my 
brother's side," wrote Eugenie to the suffering Maurice ; and 
akin to that unselfish love was the ardour of sympathy with 




which Mary Gilbert cared for one who was as painfully 
removed from reach of her personal service. 

Among the intimate friends in whom Mary confided in 
this time of sorrow were Denis Florence MacCarthy, Dr. W. 
K. Sullivan, Dr. Charles W. Russell, President of Maynooth 
College, and Dr. R. R. Madden ; but it would be impossible 
to enumerate the friends and comrades in work, by whom 
her brother was beloved and admired, who poured out their 
sympathy to the devoted sister in letters which remain to 
attest his power of winning tender affection. That Gilbert, 
the indomitable in conquering difficulties, the irrepressible 
in play of good humour, and the sanguine in spirit, should 
have broken down in the early prime of life, seemed incredible 
to those who knew him well, till the long strain of labour, 
beset with peculiar difficulties, was called to mind. The grief 
of MacCarthy for his friend was little less intense than that 
of Mary herself, and to him she poured out her sorrow in 
letters too sacred for publication, but which would of them- 
selves form a deeply interesting human document. The 
poet had from very early days been the familiar friend of the 
Gilbert family, associated with their summer enjoyments and 
winter festivities. " I am longing to sit under the broad leafy 
limes at Villa Nova, where I always fancy myself again in 
Vallombrosa," he writes in one of his numerous letters which 
prove that within the sad cloud which now wrapped the once 
happy home MacCarthy's faithful friendship struck roots even 
deeper than before. It was he who broke to Gilbert in his 
absence the news of the death of his unswerving friend of 
many years. Sir William Wilde, an event which affected Gilbert 
very keenly ; and he was the first to whom Mary wrote of a 
fresh sorrow, in the cruel year of 1876, when Philippa was 
taken from her. " My beautiful sister died this morning," 
writes Mary to MacCarthy in her now complete desolation. 

In MacCarthy's diary for 1875-6 there are many references 
to the troubles in the Gilbert family. His first entry on the 
subject runs : " Met the Miss Gilberts in the Avenue. After 
some hesitation they told me of the contemplated changes in 


the Record Office. Greatly surprised and grieved." More 
than a year later he records a communication from Mary at 
Brighton, where she had gone to meet her brother. "J. T. 
wonderfully well, holding a /ev^e of his friends." Between 
the dates of these two entries MacCarthy's sympathy with 
his friends is evidenced by many a bit of writing in the diary, 
where is also preserved a letter from Dr. R. R. Madden to 
the poet : — 

"You have no doubt heard of the death of Philippa 
Gilbert. It was very sad and sorrowful in its effects on the 
surviving sister. Few have ever been more sorely tried than 
she has been. She counts with apparent certainty on her 
brother's perfect restoration to health, and of his return home 
within a few weeks, at most, to engage in his old pursuits ; and 
is frequently putting his books in order, that he may find 
them as he left them. No one can more ardently desire his 
recovery than I do." 

Further notes in MacCarthy's diary record Gilbert's return 
to home and work, thoroughly reinvigorated and in excellent 

**May 22, 1877. — A card from J. T. on Saturday, contain- 
ing an extract about Major Swan, a joke upon my Cygnus 
Expirans " [a poem which appeared in the Month of March 
and April, 1872.] "Sent a card in reply." 

May 28. — Freeman and post-card from G. Sent four 
lines of a squib in reply to J. T.'s quotation from Swift." 

" June 4. — Long and interesting letter from G. — full of 
jokes and wit." 

" June 9. — Sent copies of an announcement in the 
Academy that Mr. Gilbert had returned to Dublin quite 
restored to health, to Miss G. and Dr. Madden, from 
whom I had an interesting letter yesterday. Madden 
said — 

" * Gilbert and his sister dined with us on Sunday. He 
looked well, ate well, punned as well as ever, and said he felt 
quite well' " 

"June II. — Very amusing letter from G., inquiring as to 



rare historical books in the British Museum. Worked up by 
John, and report sent to him." 

" July 6. — Sent G. a book, * The Adventures of Mr. 
Gilbert Go-a-head.' " 

Letters of congratulation poured in upon him. The 
(Dowager) Marchioness of Ormonde, in her letter of July 7 
of that year, writes — 

"I am rejoiced to hear that you are completely restored 
to health, and trust that for many years you will enjoy it. I 
enclose a letter from my daughter, and you must allow me 
to express my warm thanks for your kindness in presenting 
me with that valuable and most interesting work. Nothing 
would please me better than to know that you were again 
superintending and directing the arrangement and binding 
of these Ormonde Manuscripts. I trust that they are in 
progress, and that you are satisfied with the manner in which 
it is all being executed." 

From Dr. Samuel Raw son Gardiner, 

"4, Gordon Street, London, W.C., 

May, 26, 1877. 

" I am indeed very glad to hear of your recovery, and 
that you are at work again for the benefit of all who interest 
themselves in history. I trust that some day you will be 
able to publish the manuscripts about the Ulster Rebellion, of 
which you gave me so interesting a description the last time 
that I saw you. I am gradually working on towards that 
event, so that I shall by-and-by have a special interest in it. 
I want also to thank you most heartily for offering to help 
us in the * Academy.' We have no Irish books on hand, but 
when any come in I shall be very glad to be able to consult 
you about them. There is a * History of Monaghan ' by 
Evelyn Shirley, of which the first part appeared, and we 
had a short note on it, intending to devote an article to it 
when the whole was published. Perhaps you would like to 
undertake it when the time comes. As to Ware's Journal, 


it belongs to Mrs. Carew, of Crowcombe Court, in Somerset- 
shire. The greater part of the book consists of rough notes 
referring to Irish biography and Church history. In one 
place we have genealogy of the descendants of his father and 
mother. The next page has O'Connors of the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries. Then comes the death of Sir James 
Crofts in 1590. Lists of Deans, Bishops, etc. The diary 
begins in this way — 'Private Collections by Ja. W. stilo 
current! 1623. Beginning 25 Mtii, Malcomb Hamilton, 
Chancellor of Downe, was consecrated Archbp. of CashelL' 
After some further entries, ' On Munday following a daughter 
of the Lord Deputies was married to Edward Brabazon, a 
grandchild of the Lord Brabazon, in Christ Church, after 
sermon preached by Dr. Ja. Usher, Lo. Bp. of Meath.' The 
last entry is, ' 1647. January the i8th. The Counsell of 
Killkenny sent in agents or messengers to invite forraners 
to come invade this kingdom of Ireland, etc., etc' 

"Many thanks for the Introduction to the Irish photo- 
graphed Manuscripts, which I received safely this morning." 

The Rev. James Graves writes — 

" Your kind letter and contents, so full of life and interest 
to me, gives me unmixed pleasure. I rejoice that our country 
will have the full services of one who, when trammelled with 
official work, was able to do so much for it. That you should 
complete the great work on the National Manuscripts of 
Ireland, the first grand volume of which would alone have 
been a monument for ever, is a glorious thing. I suppose 
you will now be able to have Lord Ormonde's Manuscripts 
bound and arranged for him." 

From Rev. Dr. Reeves. 

" May, 1877. 

"We have each sufifered a heavy bereavement. About 
six weeks ago I buried my fine boy Charlie, who had grown 
to be my curate here, and to be the admired and beloved of 



all who knew him. He has left a widow and three children. 
After the publication of Part I. of the Facsimiles I had 
occasion to go to Cambridge, where I stayed with Bradshaw, 
the accomplished and earnest librarian, who was in great 
delight with the facsimiles, as affording him what he had 
long been seeking — a key to the ascertaining the age of early 
Irish writing. I have not heard for a long time of Part II., 
but I was told that it was in the hands of the Deputy 

In the summer of 1877 Mr. E. Maunde Thompson writes — 
" I have to thank you for your information on the sup- 
posed Irish fragment. I sincerely congratulate you on your 

Rev. S. W. Kershaw writes from the Library, Lambeth 
Palace — 

" I thank you very much for the pamphlets on the Irish 
Records. I think his Grace would like a copy. I fear I 
shall very rarely come to Ireland. We shall be very glad 
to see you here." 

Dr. Moran, Bishop of Ossory, writes — 

" I hope you will not delay long the first volume of * The 
Aphorismical Discovery.' But you must take care not to 
work too hard. We cannot afford to lose you. I heard 
some time ago that you had discovered some journal, or 
other fragments, of my venerable predecessor, David Rothe. 
How happy I would be to secure them for our Diocesan 
Museum, which we have recently established here." 

From Mr. E. P. Shirley, of Lough Fea, is the following : — 

** This James Shirley was not the famous Dramatist of 
whom, by the way, I have an original portrait. Neither of 
these James Shirleys belonged to my family, as far as is 
known. The Dramatist belonged to a London family. I 
have given his pedigree in the last edition of * The Stemmata 
Shirleiana.' The Irish James Shirley was far away. I have 
a conjectural descent of this family. If I am right, one of 
them was a steward to my great-grandfather, and had a 



pension of ;£"40, per annum up to his death in i777- I 
cannot find the little treatise of Lord Delvin made for Queen 
Elizabeth on the Irish language, because it is locked up at 
Lough Fea. I shall be going there in July or August, and 
if you could come and see me there, you can judge what 
should be said in your Report on Historical Manuscripts 
on the original." 

Mr. A. Fitzgibbon, from the Rookery, Great Stanmore, 
writes — 

"I am delighted to have confirmed by yourself that 
which Mr. Hans C. Hamilton had told me, viz. that your 
health is quite restored, and, in fact, that Richard is himself 
again. I am rejoiced to learn that you have resumed your 
literary labours . . . and hope you may long be spared * to do 
the State some service.' I should very much like to get a 
copy of the Geraldine document in Louvain, anent Edmundus 
Geraldini, to which you refer ; but how is it to be got at ? 
Graves is now at work at 'Notes to the Account by Friar 
Russell, of the White Knights.' " 

Laurence Waldron, M.P., writes from Paris — 
" I paid another visit to the Mazarin Library, where the 
manuscript is, about which I wrote to you, and followed your 
directions. There can be no doubt whatever of its being 
the work of Lynch, for under the heading of 'Archdiaconi 
Fuamensis,' I find 'Joannes Linchaeus hujus libri scriptor.' 
. . . The conclusion to which I have come is, that Lynch 
wrote this work on loose sheets and scraps of paper, which 
were afterwards bound together. . . . From the commence- 
ment to the end are frequent alterations, additions, and 
corrections, in writing which I assume to be Lynch's, the 
references to the page and line being in the same hand. 
Several sheets, pages, and slips, bound in, pasted in, and 
loose, and numerous additions in the margin, in the same 
writing, force me to the conclusion that no one but the author 
himself could or would take such liberties with the work. I 
look on this, in fact, as Lynch's own copy. This I submit 
to you with the utmost diffidence, for I cannot pretend to 



anything but a wish to be informed on these matters. It 
would be curious to see if the Oxford copy were made 
before or after the additions." 

From the Marchioness of Ormonde. 

21, Park Lane, London, July 13, 1877. 

"My dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" I am indeed glad to hear that you are again 
installed in your office, and delighted to feel that the 
Ormonde documents will be completely in your care, and 
that the binding, etc., will be under your auspices. 

"My son had already started in his yacht for Ireland 
when the enclosure which you sent arrived ; but I, too, am 
going to Kilkenny for a few days next week, and I will then 
deliver them into his hands, and beg of him to lose no time 
in signing and sending you back the document. 

" I am, yours very truly, 

'* Frs. J. Ormonde." 

There was indeed a general feeling of satisfaction among 
his friends and in the public mind, not only that Gilbert had 
been restored to perfect health, but that the treatment to 
which he had been subjected had in no measure damped his 
ardour, or lowered his ideal of the work which he was ready 
to take up again with characteristic energy. Yet at this crisis 
obstacles were placed in his way by a few who had been 
over hasty in assuming that his breakdown in health was 
to result in the premature close of a career which, though 
it opened so early, was still almost in its first stage. In the 
Record Office, Dublin, an effort was made to carry on and 
hold the work of the Facsimiles of the National Manu- 
scripts of Ireland during Gilbert's absence through illness, 
the consequences of such an attempt being found in mis- 
takes occasioning trouble and inconvenience, as well as un- 
necessary expense, when the work was restored to the original 



On May 31, 1877, Gilbert, to whom the official letter of 
authorization was already on its way, wrote to Dr. Ferguson, 
Deputy Keeper of the Public Record Office, Dublin, cour- 
teously expressing his readiness to resume the editorship 
of the Facsimiles of the National Manuscripts interrupted 
by his illness. 

Dr. Ferguson, in replying, stated — 

"The transfer will, however, have to be officially con- 
ducted, as it involves communication with the Treasury. In 
any application you may make you are at liberty to state 
that I am quite prepared to hand over the undertaking, but 
you must bear in mind what I formerly impressed on you, 
that work of that nature entrusted to any one not an officer 
of the Establishment ought, in my judgment, to be transacted 

On June 30, 1877, Dr. Ferguson wrote further-— 
" I received last night your letter of the 25th desiring that 
I should send you authority to take up the Historical Manu- 
scripts Commission documents at the Record Office. They 
are in the custody of Mr. M'Ghee, as officer of the Commission, 
and, of course, are not included in my directions to hand over 
the material of the Facsimiles. In any arrangements that 
may be made for Mr. M'Ghee's retirement in your favour, if 
he should be so disposed, it will be borne in mind that / 
entertain an objection to any one not on the Establishment having 
exceptional privileges at the Record Office, and that an indepen- 
dent custody in that event will probably have to be made." 

The following letters sufficiently indicate the happy con- 
clusion of this unpleasant episode : — 

From the Master of the Rolls in Ireland, 

" Dublin, June 2, 1877. 

"My dear Gilbert, 

" I have received your letter with enclosures, and 
have just directed my Secretary to write the necessary letter 
to the Lords of the Treasury asking their sanction to the 



retransfer of the editing of the National Manuscripts to you. 
I have had very great pleasure indeed in recommending that 
this should be done. 

"Yours, my dear Gilbert, 

" Most sincerely, 

"Edward Sullivan." 

From the Same. 

"June II, 1877. 

"My dear Gilbert, 

" I am most happy to inform you that 1 have just 
received a letter from the Treasury authorizing the retransfer 
of the work of editing the National Manuscripts. Take care 
not to overwork yourself too much at first. 

" Yours most sincerely, 

"Edward Sullivan." 

From John P. Prendergast, Author of ''The 
Cromwellian Settlement in Ireland'' 


" On my return from England this morning your well- 
known handwriting greeted me and gratified me by announcing 
your good health, which is welcome news to your many friends. 
Before I dressed myself I read your most instructive memoir 
of the National Manuscripts of Ireland, and thank you for 
it most heartily, as it gives us in an accessible form what is 
not so readily handled when forming part of a * blue book.' 
I have been relieved somewhat in my anxieties for Dr. Russell 
by yesterday's account in the Freeman. I heard of his fall 
in Bath, and suffered great anxiety. He probably has already 
sent you our last Preface, but lest he may not, I send it now. 

" I think you will find the treaty between Ormonde and 
Owen Roe O'Neill on the enclosed slip. H. J. Shufifrey, Esq., 
Bodleian Library, Oxford, will copy for you. I have col- 
lected what I could from amongst my extracts and copies 



relating to Owen Roe O'Neill. I am sorry I have not more. 
You guessed right about the Declaration of Owen O'Neill 
and the Ulster Commanders referred to in the note in the 
account of the Carte Papers. It is the Declaration translated 
into Latin in the ' Hibernia Dominicana.' In the copy in the 
Carte Papers the names of the subscribers are omitted. I 
do not know where Lodge got the Remonstrance of the 
Northern Catholics. 

" I wish you every success in the valuable undertaking ^ 
you have now in hand, and shall await its appearance with 
the greatest interest." 

From Rev. Dr. Reeves. 

" May, 1877. 

" I am very thankful for the valuable pamphlet which you 
have sent me. I would with pleasure go to you for dinner 
on Thursday but that I am bound to return to Tynan on that 
day. I must fly homeward, my household and poor little 
orphan grandchildren being in the state of the infants in 
the Wood of Fochlut, who cried out for the presence of 
St. Patrick." 

From William Chappell. 

" Stratford Lodge, Oatlands Park, Weybridge Station, 

" May 22, 1877. 

" My stay in Ireland was unexpectedly prolonged, and I 
reached home only last Monday, so that I did not receive the 
two valuable works you were so kind as to send me. I accept 
them thankfully, and I venture to guess that no one will 
appreciate them more highly than I. All that I know of the 
Red Book of Ossory is from an article written by Mr. Graves 
some time ago in Notes and Qtieries. When I wrote to him 
he had left the country. It appears from his article that 
Bishop de Ledwede wrote hymns to popular secular tunes, 
so that the people might 'sing psalms to hornpipes.' I am 
anxious to know all the names of the tunes given by Ledwede 

^ " Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland, 1641-1652." 



in the hope of tracing them, and, if not, of mentioning them 
in a new edition of ' Popular Music of the Olden Time,' or in 
my ' History of Music' As an historian, I am anxious to 
know anything that may illustrate the music of Ireland, Scot- 
land, or England, and shall be thankful for any extract or 
indication of a new source of information upon the subject. 
Like you, I work from original sources where they are attain- 
able, and quote the exact authority from which I derive 
information of any kind, or from anybody. Such books do 
not pay for the time they occupy, but it is the search for new 
information which is my pleasure, and I am only tempted to 
write when I can correct unfounded stories for the benefit of 
future historians. I am happily enabled to print without 
caring for remuneration for time and labour, because I have 
a moderate income earned in my younger days. I pursue the 
subject for the love I bear to it, and old age without occupa- 
tion must, I think, be a miserable life. Pray pardon these 
egotistical details ; they are to account for my writing at all. 
Allow me to ask if you take interest in any branch of music, 
national music or other? I shall soon reprint two of my 
works, the * History' (vol. i) and 'Popular Music,' as there 
are no sheets in stock. But the ' Old English Ditties ' are 
stereotyped. Vol. i of my * History ' is in the library of the 
Royal Irish Academy." 

From Lord Talbot de Malahide. 

" 14, Albemarle Street, London, 

"June i6, 1878. 

"My dear Gilbert, 

" I have only just returned from abroad. I am 
delighted to hear that you have resumed the position you so 
worthily filled at the Royal Irish Academy. 

" The discovery of the Oxford Missal is a very interesting 
one. I shall be in England for some time, but hope to be 
at Malahide during the meeting of the British Association. 
" Believe me, yours truly, 

"Talbot de Malahide." 



About this time Gilbert became very anxious for the 
publication in the Master of the Rolls' Series, " Chronicles 
and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland," of the Char- 
tularies and Annals of the two great abbeys of Dublin — 
St. Mary's Abbey and the Abbey of St. Thomas — which were 
the repositories of much documentary treasure valuable to 
the history of Ireland in its relations with England ; and to 
his expressed desire on the subject he received the following 
reply from the Deputy Keeper of the Public Record Office, 
London : — 

From Sir Thomas Duffies Hardy, 

" London, November, 1877. 

"Dear Gilbert, 

" Your proposition to edit the Chartulary and 
Annals of St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin, shall be taken into 
consideration, with other proposed works, towards the end 
of the present financial year. Although there is at present 
no chronicle or memorial on the list for Ireland this year yet, 
there are several calendars of documents relating to Ireland 
now being published. 

" Yours faithfully, 

"T. DuFFUS Hardy." 


I 878-1 879 

The Todd Memorial — The Cunningham Fund — " Leabhar na h-Uidhri" 
— " Leabhar Breac " — " Book of Leinster " — Letters. 

As early as the year 1869 Gilbert had published the following 
letter in the Dublin newspapers with reference to the Todd 
Memorial : — 

" Villa Nova, Blackrock, October 22, 1869. 

" Gentlemen, 

" I have received your circular respecting a 
memorial for the late Rev. J. H. Todd, with whom, till his 
lamented death, I was associated as joint honorary secretary 
of the Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society, for the publi- 
cation of the materials for Irish history, especially those in 
the Irish language. Great as were Dr. Todd's collegiate and 
social merits, I believe that his highest and principal public 
distinction, and that by which he will be chiefly remembered, 
was the service which he rendered in the promotion of a 
sound and accurate school of study of the ancient language 
of Ireland. This formed a principal feature of his public 
career, and it was mainly through his labours in connection 
with native Irish literature that he was known to the world 
of letters and to the majority of his countrymen. The 
importance of an accurate and critical investigation of the 
ancient literary remains in the language of Ireland was 
frequently brought before the public by Dr. Todd, and was 
especially dwelt upon in his inaugural address as President 
of the Royal Irish Academy in 1856. On that occasion he 




expressed his admiration for the constitution of the Academy, 
which he characterized as an institution invaluable in a 
country circumstanced as Ireland is. * This Academy,' he 
added, 'holds out at once rewards and distinctions to the 
investigator of truth, the most grateful to literary men, and, 
at the same time, affords a common ground on which all can 
meet as brethren associated in the common pursuit of know- 
ledge.' Conversant as I am with his views on these subjects, 
and aware that they are shared by many in Ireland and 
elsewhere, it appears to me that the most appropriate and 
permanent monument to his memory would be the founda- 
tion of a Professorship of the Irish language in the Royal 
Irish Academy. On this neutral academic ground and for 
such an object, various elements might be successfully com- 
bined to establish what has been so long wanting — a reliable 
standard, and scientific authority on the Irish language. Such 
a professorship, aided by accessories derivable from the 
Academy's unique collections, would form an active centre 
through which, with the collaboration available, the authentic 
and scientific elucidation of the ancient literary monuments 
of Ireland could be well ensured. We might then with 
confidence look forward to an early production of the Irish 
Dictionary, which Dr. Todd, in his above-quoted address, 
declared it was his ambition to see carried out as a national 
object, and given to the world as the Dictionary of the 
Academy of Ireland. 

" I have the honour to be, gentlemen, 
" Your obedient servant, 

"(Signed) J. T. Gilbert. 

" To the Honorary Secretaries of the Todd Memorial." 

In 1870 it was found that the subscriptions to the Todd 
Memorial Fund, of which Gilbert and Hardinge were the 
treasurers, did not amount to a sufficient sum for the found- 
ing of a Professorship of the Celtic language, and in conse- 
quence Gilbert proposed to devote the money to an equally 
Irish and national object — the production in facsimile of the 



" Book of Lecan." This proposal, however, was not accepted 
by the Academy ; and somewhat later the memorial fund 
was sufficiently augmented to permit the fulfilment of the 
first intention of the promoters of the movement, with the 
result that the now existing Todd Professorship was founded 
in connection with the Royal Irish Academy. 

During the same year (1878) it was proposed by certain 
members of the Academy to divert the Cunningham Fund," 
entrusted by bequest to that institution, from the channel 
of usefulness intended by the donor, and an urgent protest 
was made by other members against the scheme.^ 

Gilbert was active in supporting the protest, as was 
W. H. Hardinge, his co-trustee of the Cunningham Fund, 
who writes to him in June, 1878, complaining of "the appli- 
cation in the Rolls Court by two irresponsible members of 
the Academy (not having the sanction of an Academy 
General Meeting called for the special purpose) to divert 
the interest of the Cunningham Fund bequest from the 
testator's appropriation of it, * for the encouragement of 
learning in Ireland,* to the * illustration of papers.' How 
illustrating, and what, and whose papers? The Master of 
the Rolls should not entertain* the application without the 
Academy authority to the petitioners above suggested." 

From Dr, W, K. Sullivan. 

"Cork, January 25, 1878. 
" I send you the protest, signed. It looks uncommonly 
Papistical. Could you not get a few decent Protestants, 
in addition, on it ? " 

From D, F. MacCartky, 

" London, July, 1878. 
" I am very much obliged to you for sending me the 
numbers of the Freeman's Journal containing the decision 
of the Master of the Rolls on the scheme for distributing the 

See Appendix. 



Cunningham Fund, and the comments of the papers thereon. 
I find that nothing could be more admirable than the remarks 
and reasoning of the Master of the Rolls, and some of his 
illustrations are very amusing. That one about printing the 
Vice-Chancellor's prize poems is capital. The Press here 
seems to have adopted his views, as one of the comic papers 
of yesterday, in referring to the proposed scheme, speaks of 
it as the Cunning-sham scheme. The mistake of one of the 
learned counsel in supposing that Dr. Reeves' *Life of St. 
Columba' was published in the Transactions of the Royal 
Irish Academy is rather amusing. Considering the size of 
the volume, counsel can scarcely escape under cover of the 
well-known legal axiom, De minimis non curat Lex. The 
glorious uncertainty of the law was never more curiously 
exemplified. A new * Life of St. Patrick,' by the Rev. W. B. 
Morris, of the Oratory, is about appearing. He has kindly 
asked me to accept a copy. His previous works give good 
promise of a valuable book. The * Life of St. Patrick ' from 
an English Oratorian's point of view will be interesting." 

Fro7ii Dr. R. R. Madden. 

" Tinode, near Blessington, Monday. 

"My dear Gilbert, 

" Pray be assured my only feeling about the 
reading of the paper is that it was very kind of you to 
undertake it, and that the importance of the discussion that 
was to follow my paper was quite sufficient to justify the 
shortening of the latter. I suppose I am mainly indebted 
to you and my old friend O' Curry for the decision of the 
Committee of Publication, which is gratifying to me, for I 
have a very strong conviction on my mind that I shall not 
again have a similar favour to seek or to obtain. I most 
earnestly hope that you will be successful in your efforts to 
defeat the object of the party in the Academy (the Trinity 
College party, and the unnatural supporters in the Academy 
not of their clique) who hate antiquarian pursuits, or hold 




those who pursue them in contempt. I can very well under- 
stand the indifference of that party towards all objects which 
have in view the promotion of the interests of antiquarianism. 
And I can make some allowance for the prejudices against 
antiquarian researches of men whose time and talents are 
mainly devoted to mathematical studies and attainments, or 
to learning exclusively devoted to other professional pursuits. 
But I cannot understand those who have scarcely any con- 
nection with either, for any purpose of expediency even, 
identifying themselves with such a party. Depend upon it, 
the course taken by you and Dr. Reeves is the only one 
worthy of you, and calculated to enhance your merits in 
the opinion of all right-minded persons who are truly inte- 
rested in the true interests, and the legitimate purpose, and 
the original aim and end of the Royal Irish Academy. 
" Yours, dear Gilbert, 

" Very faithfully and sincerely, 

"R. R. Madden." 

From D, F. MacCarthy. 

" Hotel Saint Romain, Rue du Dauphin, Paris, 

"January 26, 1878. 

" I took a long walk to-day to Sevres to see the Musee 
Ceramique, and afterwards through the part of St. Cloud as 
far as the chateau so patriotically destroyed by the French 
in the Prussian siege. The day has been so unusually bright 
and fine, and I felt so well, that I scorned voiturey diligence^ or 
chemin de fer, and gallantly walked back to Paris again. It 
is thus that I have just received Florence's letter of yesterday 
sending me yours of the 24th, enclosing the Cunningham Fund 
matter. Knowing as you do how thoroughly I agree with 
you and the other Protest-ants in the matter, I trust you have 
appended my name without hearing from me, which, under 
the circumstances, was impossible. I send you, however, the 
paper, signed, though it will scarcely be in time for your 
purpose, as the mails do not go out on Sunday. Up to 



yesterday the weather has been exceedingly cold and dis- 
agreeable, rain, sleet, snow, and hail alternating. To-day, 
however, has been delightful, and if it would always continue 
so, and * if I were an unconnected man,' as Shelley says in 

* Julian and Maddalo,* like him I might be tempted to form 
a plan * never to leave' Paris. I may be here some days yet, 
so that if there is any book or other matter you would like 
me hunt up for you, I should be most happy to do it. I am 
here on Cosas de Espaiia, in one of those fine chateaux in 
that airy region which I am not yet tired of constructing. 
I am greatly pleased with this duodecimo Delphin edition of 
a hotel. Tennyson's, mine, and other great people's names 
are in the visitors' book. I dare say at the end, when they 

* send bill,' I may have to change my mind — and many 

The effort made by the protest resulted in a satisfactory 
decision of the Master of the Rolls in Ireland, which will be 
found in the Appendix. 

An epoch in the history of ancient Irish writings was 
reached when a department for work on Irish manuscripts 
was first established in the Royal Irish Academy in 1866, 
on the suggestion of John T. Gilbert, Librarian of the 
Academy, and placed under his direction by the Committee 
of Irish Manuscripts of the Council. In 1869 the Council 
stated that, at the proposal of Mr. Gilbert, they had commenced 
the publication of the ancient Irish texts in their integrity, 
*' which," they said, " it is hoped will be attended with 
important results in the promotion of Celtic studies." Follow- 
ing this, and on a system originated by Gilbert, the two 
important manuscripts, " Leabhar na h-Uidhri " and " Leabhar 
Breac," were edited by him, and published under his direction 
and supervision. The editing and publication of the " Book 
of Leinster " was then proposed and undertaken by Gilbert, 
who carried on the work, until a temporary failure of health 
obliged him, reluctantly, to pause in his many labours, and 
seek change of air and scene. On returning to take up his 



position as Librarian of the Academy, which had been filled 
in his absence by another, he found that the editing of the 
''Book of Leinster" had been transferred to hands which 
were now resolved to hold it. Seeing that as early as 1866 
he had inaugurated the movement thus to render the ancient 
texts accessible to students in all parts of the world, and had 
already edited the " Leabhar na h-Uidhri " and " Leabhar 
Breac," and had accomplished a considerable part of the 
editing of the " Book of Leinster," he naturally desired to 
continue and complete the last-mentioned volume. After a 
determined struggle to retain the editorship of this work 
which he had so much at heart, he was obliged to see the 
results of the time and labour disinterestedly bestowed by 
him upon it entirely appropriated by another. 

It will be observed that in the introduction to the " Book 
of Leinster " no mention is made of Gilbert, who, as first 
editor, had arranged the entire manuscript for transcription 
and publication, and under whose supervision a considerable 
portion of the work had been printed. The report and 
notes of his struggle to retain the editorship of the "Book 
of Leinster " are given in the Appendix. 

From the Right Rev. Dr, Graves, 

"The Palace, Limerick, March 25, 1878. 

" My dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" Many thanks for the copy of the Academy. The 
Missal which you describe is a very interesting one. I should 
like to see the Litany contained in it. In fact, I wish I had 
a list of all the known Ancient Irish litanies. I dare say 
Reeves would help me in making this out, and you would 
kindly remember my need of it. I will write to Lord Gort, 
making use of the hint you give me. I cannot remember 
exactly on what occasion I expressed my opinion as to the 
value of the ancient Irish Manuscript pedigrees. I think it was 
in a paper on an Ogham inscription, read before the R.I. A.; 



and, if so, there may be no record of it in the ProceedingSy for 
I made the abstracts of my papers very brief. However, I 
can easily put you in possession of the testimony which you 
wish to elicit. I am preparing a paper for the R.I. A. on an 
Ogham inscription, the age of which I am enabled to fix 
by means of two ancient pedigrees. This will give me an 
excellent occasion to say something on the general subject. 
How soon would you want this ? 

"The Bodleian Manuscript, described by Dr. Todd in the 
Proceedings of tJie R.LA., vol. ii., p. 336, contains a tract which 
I suspect would be of great value to me in my Ogham 
researches. It is a very ancient tract on the genealogies of 
the race of Ir. Even if the substance of the pedigrees was 
the same as what McFirbis gives, the spelling of the names 
might be of great importance in my inquiries. I suppose 
I shall have to go to Oxford to examine it. 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

" C. Limerick. 

" I was, indeed, glad to see that you had been reappointed 

Three days later Dr. Graves wrote — 

" The enclosed letter from Lord Gort shows that he is 
not likely to give us access to any of his manuscripts. The 
fact that they have been already looked at and handled does 
not prove that they ought not to be examined by a competent 

In Lord Gort's reply to the Bishop of Limerick he 
states — 

" I have full confidence in your knowledge and judgment 
in such matters, and would be guided by your advice 
if I had manuscripts to be examined. I have a few letters 
and accounts, curious as showing the prices in Ireland a 
century and a half ago. They have been examined by 
Mr. Lenihan, when writing his * History.' But they are few 
in number." 



From y. T. Gilbert to Right Rev. Dr. Graves. 

" Villa Nova, Blackrock, 

" March 30, 1878. 

" Dear Bishop, 

" It is to be regretted that Lord Gort's letter is not 
more promising. The * History ' to which he alludes is far from 
being up to the mark. The Irish Manuscript in the Bodleian, 
described by Dr. Todd, was examined by me, and I had fac- 
similes of some of its pages for the third part of the work on 
the National Manuscripts. I doubt, however, that you would 
consider it superior as a text to our * Book of Lecan,' which 
contains six of the genealogies of the tribe of Ir in Lecan 
and Ballimote, which, perhaps, might be as useful for your 
work as the Oxford Manuscript. I am delighted to hear of 
your intended paper for the Academy, and will be most happy 
if I can supply any materials from our manuscripts for it. 
The remarks on the genealogies could be cited very well in 
the third part of the * National Manuscripts,' which will not 
be finished for at least six months or longer. 

"Yours faithfully, 

"J. T. Gilbert." 

From Mrs. Burrell. 

" II, Merrion Square East, Dublin, April 14, 1878. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" I think you will be pleased to hear that my 
husband has seen the Drummond Missal. It is safe at 
Grimsthorpe, in Lincolnshire. Lady Willoughby was greatly 
interested in your notice of it in the Academy which you 
kindly sent us ; but she is very anxious for information about 
it, particularly to know if there is a facsimile printed, if any- 
thing, in fact, is being done. It was really very fortunate your 
sending us that Academy. It is a good thing to draw 



Lady Willoughby's attention to the Missal, as it is thus more 
likely to be taken care of. Willoughby asks me a whole 
string of questions, but if you would just tell me anything 
about it, at what date you think it was written, etc., it would 
be most kind of you, and we should be greatly obliged. I 
think you said you had not seen it yourself. With many 
apologies for troubling you, 

" Believe me, yours sincerely, 

"Mary Burrell." 

Dr. Gardiner, who was engaged on the period of his 
history of England which is concerned with the seventeenth- 
century "Wars in Ireland," looked for all his information 
on that subject to Gilbert, as to the very highest and most 
reliable authority. 

From Dr. S. R, Gardiner, 

" 4, Gordon Street, London, 

"September, 20, 1878. 

" I am very much obliged to you for so promptly reporting 
on the manuscripts. 

"Could you give me an idea how much is worth any- 
thing? If you have material for about thirty or forty pages 
relating to Ware, that might be made the substantive portion 
of the publication, and whatever is worth having in the 
present manuscript might be worked in. At all events, I 
should be glad to leave the matter in your hands. We 
meet on Wednesday week, and I could lay anything you 
could tell me further before the Council. 

"Can you help me to the real reason of the change of 
feeling between the first two sessions of the Irish Parliament 
of 1640? Was it merely Strafford's absence, or was it the 
course of events in England, or intercourse with the con- 
stituencies, which turned the members round } " 


From D. F. MacCarthy, 

"London, 1878. 

" I am sorry to say that Longman's last bulletin in 
reference to the * Facsimiles of the National Manuscripts ' 
gives little hope of my being able to obtain a copy of Part I. 
Here it is, or rather, here it isn't. * National Manuscripts of 
Ireland,' vol. i. Extract of reply from H.M. Stationery 
Office, November 28 — 

" ' We have very few copies remaining, and the question 
of reprinting is under consideration, and until it is decided 
we shall retain our copies.' 

" I shall, however, try Quaritch." 

From the Duke of Leinster, 

"Kilkea Castle, Mageney, October i, 1878. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" The book may be sent to my house in Dominick 
Street. I have no doubt it will be as splendid a work as the 
last part. I trust you will get subscribers to the archaeological 
volumes, and shall be glad if you will place my name and 
that of Lord Kildare on the list. I am delighted to hear 
so good an account of Dr. Russell. 

Believe me, yours very faithfully, 

" Leinster." 

Fro7n Right Rev, Dr. Graves. 

"The Palace, Henry Street, Limerick, 

" March 22, 1878. 

"My dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" I send you a Roll which you will be kind enough 
to examine. You will be able easily enough to determine 
whether it deserves notice in the Report of the Historical 
Manuscripts Commission. When it was given to me some 



years ago I took the pains to copy it — at least, I commenced 
the work and laid it aside unfinished, not feeling quite sure 
whether it was worth my while to devote to the task as much 
time as would be necessary in deciphering parts of the 
writing which are very indistinct. I copied all the names 
of the Mayors and Bailiffs, and found them, as well as I 
remember, to agree with the lists given in the published 
histories of Limerick. 

"By the way, what an extraordinarily inaccurate and 
unscholarlike book Lenihan's * History of Limerick ' is ! I 
suspect he might have done more and better with the 
materials of which he had the use. I have never heard 
whether Lord Gort intends to give us access to his manu- 
script stores. I have a personal interest in this question, for 
I suspect that the examination of them would lead to the 
discovery of facts bearing on the history of my family. My 
grandfather's grandfather, John Graves, was one of the 
Sheriffs of Limerick in 1709. 

" Believe me to be, 

" Yours very sincerely, 

" Limerick." 

From Oscar Wilde. 

" I, Merrion Square, Dublin, Sunday. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

"In the Saunders of yesterday you will find a 
short article by me on the unfortunate author of the * Irish 
Crosses.* I have put forward your point about the Cunning- 
ham Bequest as strongly as I could without being rude. I 
have just suggested it. I hope that the Academy will do 
something for this very learned and clever artist. 

"Pray offer Miss Gilbert my best wishes for the New 
Year, and accept them yourself, from 

" Yours very truly, 

"Oscar Wilde." 



From Rev, Dr, Reeves. 

"The Rectory, Tynan, March 25, 1878. 

"My dear Gilbert, 

" I am heartily glad that you are back in your old 
place in the Academy, and I hope you will long be there to 
aid and adorn it. The account of the Missal is in many ways 
gratifying as well as instructive. I am glad to learn from it 
that you intend to give us a good share of illustrations from 
that manuscript, and further that there is a prospect of our 
seeing the Drummond Missal, even though its editor has been 
removed by death. 

Yours faithfully, 

"Wm. Reeves." 

In 1878 MacCarthy writes to Mary Gilbert— 

"I wish I could comply with your request, but I fear 
'the days of story and song' are over for me. I am glad, 
however, that you still have a remembrance of the * Shamrock 
from the Irish Shore.' I am rejoiced to hear of J. T.'s 
activity and happiness. He ought to accept Madame Livio's 
invitation before the Paris Exhibition closes." 

In another letter from London, he says — 

" The contrast between the gloom and glare of a public 
funeral at this hyper-equatorial season and the opening of 
your dainty box of delicious flowers from Villa Nova was 
delightful ; and though I have scarcely a moment to say 
it, I must tell you how much I thank you, and how truly 
welcome are these sweet memorials of your home and of 
yourself. I wish I could send you in return even such im- 
perfect verses as those you so kindly accepted from me when 
at Boulogne. To do that, however, I should, like Arion, 
assume my singing robes, which in the present state of the 
thermometer, when one would be disposed to follow the cool 
advice of Sydney Smith, would be a rash experiment. The 
funeral to which I allude was that of Charles Mathews, which 
Florence and I, after mass in St. Mary of the Angels, duly 



attended. There was a very large crowd, including many 
notables, among whom decidedly the most remarkable looking 
was Henry Irving. He stood at the foot of the grave, and, 
from the expression of his face, seemed to meditate leaping 
into it, if there were only a Laertes to contend with. Nothing, 
however, more tragic than beautiful garlands and wreaths of 
flowers was laid upon the light and small coffin, which looked 
like that of a woman. I am glad to hear such good news of 
Sister Stanislaus." 

In 1879 the centenary of Thomas Moore was celebrated 
in Dublin, and an ode by D. F. MacCarthy was recited on the 
occasion by the well-known Rev. Dr. Tisdall. 

MacCarthy wrote in May — 

" You must ask J. T. to forgive me for not having at once 
answered his friendly inquiry, all the more that even now I 
cannot ' name the day, the happy, happy day,' when I shall 
turn up at Villa Nova. I feel very much indisposed to go 
to Dublin at all until this Moore-ish centenary business is 
happily well (or ill) over. The committee, I fear, is not a 
very united family. ... I feel a natural repugnance to 
stand in the pillory of my own condemnation when my 
ode is pretty sure to receive its deserved quietus on the 
28th inst. Sir Robert Stewart will not be able to set it to 
music, as there is not time, but he writes to me in too lauda- 
tory terms of the verses. I have great fears, but with Tisdall's 
fine elocution it may pass. I shouldn't be at the ordeal of 
the recitation for any consideration." 

In another letter MacCarthy writes — 

" With regard to the ode, I am put under a sort of vow 
by Dr. Tisdall not to send even a single copy to Ireland 
before, as he says, it ' comes living and breathing ' from his 
lips. He thinks more highly of it than it deserves, and 
wishes that it should burst with absolute novelty and fresh- 
ness for the first time on the ears of his audience. It is not 
the first time a man broke his vow for the sake of a lady, 
as I do now in your behalf. Although the offering has the 
taint of perjury about it, I trust that you will graciously 



accept it and condone the offence. A stronger reason for 
keeping it out of your view is a well-grounded fear that it 
would not come up to the moderate expectations you may 
have formed. I trust, on the whole, that you and J. T. will 
think the poem fairly done. Tisdall objects only to one line, 
and that, I think, on political rather than poetical grounds." 
Again he writes — 

" If I had not been quite convalescent, your kind letter 
must have worked a miracle on the instant. It is a part of 
the great debt which, I fear, I shall never be able to dis- 
charge. I am delighted that J. T. is coming over. He 
should remember that the Academy and Grosvenor Galleries 
close at the end of this month. Florence and I went to the 
Academy, but were not greatly struck by any of the pictures. 
Millais seems to have taken a new departure, his portraits 
look as if the colours were laid on with a trowel. Mrs. 
Butler's pictures attract great attention. J. T.'s room will 
be ready for him whenever he arrives. Thank him for letters 
and for the Academy. I was glad to see an allusion to him 
in Saturday's Academy in reference to the Oxford Irish 

For all his modesty, however, MacCarthy was obliged 
to submit to the public presentation of a wreath of laurels in 
recognition of his ode on the poet Thomas Moore. After this 
event, the laureate and his friend " J. T. G.," returning to spend 
the evening at Villa Nova, called at Sion Hill Convent, Black- 
rock, to display the wreath for the amusement of Sister Mary 
Stanislaus, the poet's daughter ; and the good Dominican 
" sisters " and " mothers " still relate how Gilbert placed 
the wreath on MacCarthy's head, and how the two serious 
scholars, linked arm in arm and with peals of laughter, 
danced about like schoolboys in the convent parlour. 

Writing to Gilbert from London in June of that year, 
MacCarthy says — 

Thanks for your rescuing my letter from — 

' Amid the wise old serpents coiled around 
The Tree of Knowledge in academies.' 


They would have been too wise to have invested the six- 
pence postage you rashly advanced on my account. Was 
ever poet so trusted before? The mystical letters M.R.I. A. 
do not seem very familiar to the post-office authorities. The 
letter is a long and interesting one, which I should have 
been sorry to have missed, containing a St. Louis paper with 
full account of the Centennial celebration in that city, almost 
at the same moment when our friend Dr. Tisdall was de- 
lighting the ears of his great Dublin audience in the Exhi- 
bition Buildings. In this paper the ode is printed in full. 
I have had some long and interesting letters from America, 
including one from Mrs. Ticknor, the widow of George 
Ticknor. You will be glad to hear that the elaborate cata- 
logue of Spanish books bequeathed to the Public Library 
of Boston will be published by Mrs. Ticknor. I shall have 
much pleasure in searching for * Guicciardini's Aphorisms,' 
which, I am glad to hear, is not very rare, as I should like 
to send it to you." 

Later the poet writes to Mary Gilbert — 

" Has Sister Stanislaus shown you the copy of Lord 
Beaconsfield's letter about the Moore ode, the author, and 
Moore himself? " 

I 877-1 878 

Work resumed under Historical Manuscripts Commission — Royal Irish 
Academy — Ormonde Manuscripts — Kilkenny Castle — Extracts from 
Diary of Denis Florence MacCarthy — Letters. 

The manner in which he was welcomed back to his position 
as Inspector and Editor for Ireland under the Historical 
Manuscripts Commission is indicated by the following 
letters : — 

From John Romilly to Lord Talbot de Malakide. 

*' Rolls House, [London], 

"June II, 1877. 

"My Lord, 

" In reply to your letter addressed to the Master 
of the Rolls, I am desired to request that you will kindly 
state the subject-matter of the question to be brought before 
the Commissioners, so that it may be placed upon the 
Agenda. I may add, however, that if the question be of 
the re-employment of Mr. Gilbert as Inspector under the 
Commission, the Master of the Rolls is fully empowered, 
as acting Commissioner, to sanction such engagement, and 
that upon receiving from Mr. Gilbert an application specify- 
ing one or two private collections of manuscripts open to 
his immediate inspection, his Lordship will have pleasure in 
making the necessary arrangements with the Treasury at 
a very early date. 

I remain, my Lord, 

" Your obedient servant, 

"John Romilly. 

"To the Right Honourable Lord Talbot de Malahide.'' 



From J. T. Gilbert to J . J. Cartwright. 

" Villa Nova, Blackrock, Dublin, 

"May 30, 1877. 

"Dear Mr. Cartwright, 

" Many thanks for your letter of yesterday. I am 
satisfied that the Commission took the best course they could. 

"The extract from the Report in reference to me is 
unavoidably funereal in its tone ; perhaps authority might 
be given to admit of a slip notifying that I am about to 
resume my work for the Commission. To insure accuracy, 
I would suggest the following emendation : — 

"Line 10 of extract from proof: for 'final report upon 
the Ormonde papers ' read * final report upon portion of the 
Ormonde letters and papers.' The letters and papers referred 
to are but a part of the Ormonde collection. There is a 
considerable quantity which I inspected at Kilkenny Castle 
to be subsequently done. There are also numerous docu- 
ments, such as charters, rolls, manuscript books, and miscel- 
lanea which are of the highest importance, all of which I have 
arranged subsequently to undertake. The passage as it now 
stands in the proof, might lead people to believe that the 
Report on the papers in hand would conclude the whole 
collection, which would not be correct. 

" I enclose a memorandum of this collection for Sir 
Thomas Hardy, of collections of manuscripts in Ireland to 
which I am able to obtain access. I would wish you to tell him 
that I have made a very important discovery, which I would 
like should first come to light through the Commission, as 
an evidence of the value of its labours. I have found the 
long missing book supposed to have been lost, entitled 
' The History of the Late War in Ireland,' written by Sir 
Richard Bellings, Secretary to the Irish Confederate Catholics 
in the reign of Charles I. He acted as their confidential 
agent to Queen Henrietta Maria and Louis XIV., was their 
accredited ambassador to the Pope, and accompanied the 
Papal Legate, Rinuccini, to Ireland. Plis manuscript is 


most valuable, as showing the views of the majority of Irish 
Roman Catholics towards England. 

" I can also report a manuscript of the most interesting 
character of the same period, by a most learned and witty 
author, describing from another point of view the affairs of 
Ireland, 1641-50, and those who figured in them, with personal 
sketches and anecdotes of the most curious kind. 

In fact, there is a much larger field in Ireland than I could 
have possibly worked for the Commission under the old limit 
of thirty days annually, which was imposed because I held 
office in the Record Department, from which I am now free. 

" Yours faithfully, 

T. Gilbert.'* 

Enclosed in this letter is a " Memorandum of collections 
of Manuscripts in Ireland, not yet examined, to which Mr. 
John T. Gilbert can obtain access. Manuscripts belonging to — 

" The Duke of Leinster. 

"The Duke of Abercorn. 

"The Duke of Devonshire. 

"The Primate of All Ireland. 

" The Archbishop of Dublin. 

" The Marquis of Ormonde : further collection. 

" The Marquis of Drogheda. 

" The Marquis of Waterford. 

" The Earl of Meath. 

" The Earl of Fingall. 

" The Earl of Roden. 

" Lord Emly. 

" The Earl of Granard : second collection. 
" O'Conor Don, M.P. : second collection. 
"Trinity College, Dublin. 
"Marsh's Library, Dublin. 
" Royal Irish Academy. 
" Manuscripts from St. Isidore's, Rome. 
« Right Hon. More O'Farrell. 
"Total 19. All inspected by Mr. Gilbert." 



From y. T. Gilbert to D, R MacCarthy. 

" Villa Nova, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, 

"July 15, 1877. 

" My dear MacCarthy, 

" Your card reached me on yesterday, and we are 
hoping to see John on to-day or to-morrow. If I knew his 
address, I would write and ask him to come and stop for 
some days here. 

" If he is likely to remain in Dublin for any time, you 
might write to him on the subject, and tell him how much 
pleasure it would be for us to have him here. We are much 
obliged by your interesting letter on the Moore window. 
We had not seen it before. I mentioned it yesterday to 
Lady Wilde, and send it to her by this post. Her son Oscar 
is very anxious to meet you. He dined here with Dr. 
Madden and W. K. Sullivan on Tuesday last. We were 
wishing that you, too, had been with us. 

" The Government have reinstated me in the post I 
held in connection with the Royal Commission on His- 
torical Manuscripts in a very gratifying manner, at the 
special instance of Sir G. Jessell, Master of the Rolls 
in England, Chairman of the Commission. This was 
done in a very handsome way, although it now appears 
that every opposition was given to me by the head of 
the O.V.F. 

" The Marchioness of Ormonde has sent me a most 
gratifying letter, expressing her own and her son's ' delight ' 
at my having been thus reappointed. I had also a very kind 
letter from her daughter, Lady Mary Butler, whose marriage 
with Lord Fitzwilliam's son you probably saw an account of 
some days ago. 

"If you go into any old book shops in France, will you 
try to find me a copy of the two volumes noted on enclosed 
slip? I would be glad to get them for a guinea a-piece, 



although the copies in T.C.D. were bought for eightpence ! 
They were printed somewhere in France. My sister sends 
her best regards. 

" Beh'eve me to be, very sincerely yours, 

"John T. Gilbert." 

In 1878 he was restored to his position as Honorary 
Librarian of the Royal Irish Academy. In May of the same 
year a dear friend met with an accident, resulting in an ill- 
ness which led to his death. The Rev. Dr. Charles William 
Russell, President of Maynooth College (uncle of Lord 
Russell of Killowen, Lord Chief Justice of England), was 
thrown from his horse, and, having struggled against the 
effects of the shock for a year or two, died on February 26, 

On May 22 the Duke of Leinster wrote — 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" I was very glad to receive your letter yesterday, 
giving so good an account of your health. Many thanks for 
the * Account of the Irish Manuscripts.' 

** We are much grieved at our friend Dr. Russell's accident, 
but are pleased to hear a good bulletin this morning. 

« Yours faithfully, 

" Leinster." 

Rev. Dr. Farrelly wrote from Maynooth — 

" I was delighted to receive your letter yesterday. Thank 
God you have returned in such excellent health. Poor Dr. 
Russell has had a very serious accident. I trust the worst 
is past." 

From Rome writes Mr. W. H. Bliss — 
" I am very glad of your letter ; it is kind of you to 
have thought of me. I am very anxious indeed about Dr. 


Russell. He is a friend such as few men have the happiness 
of having." 

From Sir T. Duffies Hardy, 

" London, 1878. 

" It was with unfeigned sorrow that I read the account 
you sent me of poor good Dr. Russell's accident. I trust, 
however, that it will not be too much for him to bear. He 
is a dear kind fellow, and I highly respect and honour him. 
I intend to write to him in a day or two. Lady Hardy 
desires me to send you her best congratulations and kind 

Rev. H. O. Coxe, Librarian of the Bodleian Library, 
Oxford, wrote — 

" Mr. Turner has just brought me your very charming 
'Introduction* to the National Manuscripts of Ireland, and 
tells me what I am delighted to hear, that you are well 
enough to ' put on your working-day clothes * once again. 
I trust that plenty of health will be given to you to go on 
with the work which you have so well begun." 

Mr. Turner wrote — 

" I must sympathize with you upon being subject to such 
unkindness by Government. The illustrations selected by 
you from the various manuscripts of Irish art are most 
beautiful examples. I fear to that volume, and to the multi- 
plicity of your other engagements, must be ascribed your 
illness. May I, as a friend, beg of you not to overwork 

Touching several matters connected with the renewal of 
Gilbert's work. Dr. W. K. Sullivan wrote — 

" I cannot tell you the pleasure which the sight of your 
well-known handwriting gave me. I congratulate you on 
being out of the Record Office. I am sure you will be able 



to do your literary work with pleasure when you have not to 
be a mere machine. 

" Of the National Manuscripts — the work belongs to you 
by all the laws of authorship. The first part is truly a national 
monument. I am right glad you have returned to your office 
under the Historical Manuscripts Commission. The Master 
of the Rolls acted as a real friend. I once formed a very 
high opinion of him when he was Crown Prosecutor in Green 
Street. He gave me an idea of what the theory of our 
criminal law suggests should be practised, but what one 
rarely sees carried out. The opinion then formed has been 
fully confirmed from the straightforward truthful way in 
which he acted about you. It is a pleasure to find that, after 
all, there are perhaps more good than bad men in the world. 
I know few that seem to have given rise to warmer friend- 
ships than yourself. 

" I gave Caulfield your message. I need hardly say how 
glad he was of your complete recovery. He is a happy man 
now. You should see him in his glory of cap and gown in 
his official chair. But when he has an old vellum or old calf 
tome before him he is in his full glory. 

" The Tain Bo Cuailgne has not progressed as quickly as 
I could wish, chiefly owing to my being unable to remain in 
Dublin for a few days, and also to O'Looney being engaged 
when I was there at the contents of the * Leabhar Breac ' and 
other matters. When I go up I will show you how we stand, 
and about the appearance of the book, etc. I think it will 
be a good thing in the way of a text and translation. 

"You will now be able to bring out your book about 
1641, but though I am anxious to see this completed, and 
you at your old literary occupations, I hope you will not work 
too soon, or too hard, or stick too much in your * den.* Make, 
at least for a while, a relaxation of your work, and, in the 
end, you and it will perhaps be all the better for taking 
matters easy. I am afraid the railway speed of everything 
and everybody is not the best. You see I am gradually be- 
coming a Cork man again. Here they are certainly not in a 



hurry to do anything. Even I am looked on as too fast a 
man ! " 

Early in the year 1877 the Marquis of Ormonde wrote from 
London to the Government — 

" I desire that Mr. J. T. Gilbert, F.S.A., should take charge 
of my documents now at the Public Record Office, Dublin, 
and arrange all the further matter in connection with them 
and their return to Kilkenny Castle. 

" Ormonde." 

About this time Gilbert paid many visits to Kilkenny 
Castle, examining and putting into thorough order the invalu- 
able muniments there treasured since the days of the Anglo- 
Irish wars, when the great Duke of Ormonde was Lord 
Deputy in Ireland. Like many other possessors of such rare 
ancestral treasure, the Ormonde family had at first hesitated 
to allow their archives to be examined and made public 
property, but being assured of the benefit to the world which 
would result from a sacrifice of this reluctance, the late 
Dowager Marchioness of Ormonde entered with generous 
spirit into Gilbert's plans for letting in the sunshine on so 
much hidden history, and proceeded to give him every pos- 
sible assistance in a task which was greatly lightened and 
sweetened by her sympathetic enthusiasm. 

He was able to estimate the wealth of the mine thus 
opened to him, and thoroughly enjoyed his opportunity of 
working it with power. The romantic and moving associa- 
tions of the old castle, the genial society of his kind enter- 
tainers, as well as the intense interest that centred for him in 
the ancient muniment room, all affected him, each with its 
peculiar charm. "I spent many happy days at Kilkenny 
Castle," he said, later in life, referring to that particular 
period of social enjoyment and intellectual activity. The 
following little group of letters make note of his visits to 
Kilkenny : — 



From the Dowager Marchioness of Ormonde, 

" Kilkenny Castle, November 30. 

" Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

You know you promised that you would come to 
pay us a visit, and I begged of you to name a time when I should 
be here. I sincerely hope you will not disappoint us. Arthur 
is very desirous of being here when you pay us a visit. I 
could find out from him when he will be here, and then I will 
let you know, hoping that your plans and his will not clash, 
and that you will, ere long, give us the pleasure of a visit 
here. The framed documents, I ascertained, are in the Gal- 
lery here. Upon Arthur's return I will get the key of the 
Evidence Room and look for the seals. I had the satisfac- 
tion of cutting open the leaves of your book this day, it 
having arrived by post this morning. It looks most interest- 
ing. I showed it to Mr. Kavanagh, and he intends to pur- 
chase a copy. You are really too generous and kind about 
that magnificent work. You have already been so munifi- 
cent that I cannot bear to encroach still further, and I assure 
you that it was my full intention to have tried to get a copy 
of Part III. Please let me do so this time. 

" Yours very sincerely, 

"Frs. J. Ormonde." 

From y. T, Gilbert to Mary Gilbert, 

" Kilkenny Castle, 

"Thursday, January 3, 1877. 

"My dear Sister, 

" I wrote you yesterday evening. The Marquess 
and Marchioness arrived to-day from London in time for 
lunch. I was introduced by her mother-in-law to the young 
Marchioness. She is quite as handsome as the photographs, 
and very agreeable, and most kind. The Marquess expressed 
great satisfaction at my being here, and is quite pleased with 
what I have done. 



" Lady Blanche has grown up very handsome, and is most 
agreeable. The day has been wet without ceasing. I have 
nothing particular to say except to ask you not to send me 
anything here after the afternoon post on Friday, as I shall 
leave early on Saturday. 

In haste, yours, 

" J. T. G." 

From the Same to the Same, 

"Kilkenny Castle, January 4, 1878. 

"My dear Sister, 

" I sent you a letter to-day, another on yesterday, 
with an addition made to-day. There is a great hunt at 
Jenkinstown to-day, to which the Marquess and Marchioness 
are gone. A large servants' ball will be held here this even- 
ing. I have written to D. F. MacC, also to Dr. Russell ; and 
to Dr. Lyons, explaining why I could not accept his invita- 
tion. I hope to leave to-morrow at 2.30, and to be at Villa 
Nova about 7 p.m. I send you a view of the castle, the best 
I could get, but it is a very poor one. 

"In haste, yours ever, 

"J. T. G." 

From the Dowager Marchioness of Ormonde, 

" Elvaston Castle, December 1 1. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" Your letter has just reached me, forwarded from 
Park Lane, and not a post shall go out without its bearing 
my very grateful thanks to you for the mtmificent gift you 
have been so very good as to tell me that you propose be- 
stowing upon me. I assure you I shall value these volumes 
more, perhaps, than you can imagine, enhanced to me still 
further by the kindly and friendly expressions which you so 
amiably and liberally apply to me. 

" With every desire to render any assistance to you, I can 
but feel that it is only your kindness which has magnified 



largely the very little service it was in my power to render to 
you in the very laborious undertaking which has been carried 
through so indefatigably by you, and which has been crowned 
with such complete success. I think that it will please you 
to know that when I was looking at Ormonde's two volumes 
of the * National Manuscripts of Ireland * with great interest, 
I felt such a desire to be possessed of them that I observed 
to my sons, * I wonder if it would be possible for me to get 
them for myself,' but they seemed to think it would be very 
difficult ; therefore you may judge what unbounded pleasure 
and satisfaction the announcement contained in your letter of 
this morning has caused me. The only thing wanting to make 
the present complete is that you should write my name in 
the volumes, and I shall look forward to your doing so when 
you come to London and pay me your promised visit. 
Believe me, dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" Yours sincerely, 

Frs. J. Ormonde." 

Fro77t the Same, 

" Kilkenny Castle, January 9. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" I received your letter and enclosures yesterday 
morning just before leaving Borris. I am extremely obliged 
to you for your kindness in sending me one of your books, 
which you judged rightly does interest me very much. I 
read to Mr. Kavanagh the message, and gave him the copy, 
as you desired that I would do. He begged that I would 
express to you how pleased he was to receive the book from 
you, and to thank you very much for it. 

" I showed Ormonde this morning your suggestion with 
regard to the arrangement of the external covers. He was 
delighted with it, and will only be too glad to profit by your 
kind offices. Will you let me have a line saying whether you 
wish us to fill in the dates of those not already marked on 
the document you enclosed 1 



" It gave me real pleasure to see that you have so 
completely recovered from your indisposition and are strong 
and well again. 

" Believe me, yours very truly, 

"Frs. J. Ormonde." 

A letter addressed to Dr. Graves, Bishop of Limerick in 
1878, refers to the ''Book of Lecan," the contents of which 
Gilbert had long earnestly desired to make accessible to 
scholars, and serviceable to the cause of Irish literature. 

Fro7n y. T. Gilbert to the Right Rev, Dr. Graves^ 
Bishop of Limerick, 

" Royal Irish Academy, 

" 19, Dawson Street, Dublin, 

"October 12, 1878. 

"Dear Bishop, 

"The Treasurer has asked me to reply to your 
inquiry about the pedigrees in the 'Book of Lecan.' I regret 
to say that we have no copies of them or of any similar ones 
which might be of use to you. 

'* I mentioned the project of photographing the * Book 
of Lecan * to some of the Todd Committee, but they did 
not seem inclined to approve of it. Others, however, would 
be in favour of a step of the kind. When you are next in 
Dublin, perhaps I may have an opportunity of speaking to 
you again on the subject. 

" The second part of my work on the * Facsimiles of 
National Manuscripts ' will be published in a few days, and 
I am now printing the third part, which carry down to 1545. 

" The sale of the first part has been so large that the 
entire edition is reported to be exhausted with the exception 
of a very few copies. 

" Yours very sincerely, 

"J. T. Gilbert." 



From Rev. Dr, Reeves. 

"The Rectory, Tynan, November 16, 1878. 
" It is exactly a month since you sent me the extract 
about Phelimy O'Neill, and it is rather a deferred civility 
to write at this time of day to acknowledge your kindness. 
However, just at the time I received yours I ran off the line 
in consequence of the Primate's alarming illness, and the 
extra duties which devolved upon me as Chaplain. 

" The completion of your great Facsimiles, No. 2, is 
now, I suppose, accomplished ; and the rejoicing on my part 
will be the more intense if the Treasury will follow up their 
former gifts by a repetition. The head of the Scotch perform- 
ance of a kindred nature presents me, unasked, with his three 
blue Atlas volumes. Did you see the lovely little Charters 
Lord Howth has — St. Malachy's grant to the Church and 
Cardinal Vivian's Confirmation ? The latter is most exquisite. 
God be praised, the ' Book of Leinster ' will soon see the light ! 

" Is there among the Haliday books a Book of Common 
Prayer, printed at Dublin in 1666 by John Crooke, and sold 
by Samuel Dancer, bookseller, in Castle Street ? 

" Or can you tell me if you know of any place where said 
book can be found ? Can you tell me anything about Dancer 
the bookseller ? He seems to have been a man of good 
standing in his day. 

" Whenever you are disposed for a run to Armagh, every 
accommodation of desk, bed, and board are at your service, 
and with a hearty welcome." 

From the Same, 

" The Rectory, Tynan, December, 3, 1878. 
" No. 2 has arrived, and the shell opened, but I have not 
had time to do more than take the fish out and lay it on 
the table. However, there is no fear of its not keeping, and 
I long to go into Armagh to have a real inspeximus of it. 
I am greatly indebted to you for services in the matter, 



which have given me a preference to Marlborough, and 
Tynan to Blenheim. Long life to you, old fellow ! 

" Don't forget to get the Howth gems reproduced. I saw 
them with my namesake, the attorney, in Merrion Square, 
in a house above Dr. Banks's, within a door or two of Upper 
Mount Street. Go on and prosper." 

From Dr, JV, K, Sullivan, 

" Queen's College, Cork, December 10, 1878. 

"Part II. has been received, and I have done almost 
nothing else since it came than looking through it. Though 
it cannot, of course, vie with Part I. in mere artistic interest, it 
is, in some respects, more valuable. Mr. Crawford has given 
us the English and Scottish books, so I have an opportunity 
of contrasting them with yours ; but it is not, after all, great 
praise to say that the Irish is in every way superior to the 
English. The Scots have not much, and, with the exception 
of the petition to the Pope and a few Charters, that either 
is not as interesting as one should expect from a country 
which, considering its size and position, made itself felt in 
the world. 

"I look upon the Irish Charters with especial interest, 
and hope to make good use of them. But as I hope to be 
able in a few days to express in detail the many things I 
wish to say about it, I will say no more here, especially as 
my object in writing (and you know I require an object to 
induce me to write) is not the book, but to try and induce 
you and your sister to spend a few days with us. It would 
be a pleasant variety to you, and a real Godsend to us. My 
wife has been greatly delighted at not having heard from 
your sister yet, as she thinks the delay is a good sign, and 
now hopes that my letter will turn the scale, if you ever 
thought of not coming, which I trust you did not. 

" I hope to get the good news that you are both coming 



From E. Matmde Thompson, 

" British Museum, London, December lo, 1878. 

"My dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" It is indeed very kind of you to make me so 
handsome a present. Quaritch has sent me the copy. I 
have written to the editor of the Academy, and if he has 
not already let another occupy the ground, I shall write a 
notice of the book for that paper. I have had only time to 
glimpse at it as yet. But what specially pleases me is that 
you are again in your proper position, which is an immense 
satisfaction to all right-minded people, and especially to one 
who truly sympathized with you in the bad treatment you 
received. Again thanking you, 
Believe me, 

"Yours sincerely, 

" E. Maunde Thompson." 

The close of 1877 saw him at work again on the National 
Manuscripts, and reinstated as editor and inspector for Ireland 
under the Historical Manuscripts Commission. A memorial 
to Government, forwarded by powerful hands during the 
period of his illness, had resulted in securing for him a small 
pension on the ground of abolition of office. The bright and 
faithful sister Mary was beside him with her never-failing 
sympathy, and the brother and sister were surrounded with 
the warm affection of many friends. 

The following extracts from the diary of Denis Florence 
MacCarthy, who, whether at home or abroad, always lived in 
close touch with the Gilberts, are contributed to these pages 
by Mr. John MacCarthy, the poet's son, who has supplied the 
interpolated passages : — 


April 18. — Sent copies of 'Lyra Hibernica Sacra' to 
Miss Gilbert. . . . 

''April 25. — Letter from G., asking me to Villa Nova 



during my stay in Dublin. Wrote to say I should probably 
leave on Wedn. evening next. Sent him a copy of F. Davis' 

''May 2. — Crossed by the Connaught. . . . Found the 
Gilberts quite well. Received most cordially. 

May — Although still suffering from his cough, there 
is nothing, I believe, in Dr. Madden's condition to create 
serious uneasiness, except, indeed, what must arise from the 
circumstance of his advanced age. Gilbert and I paid a visit 
to Lady Wilde at one of her afternoon-tea receptions. There 
were several accomplished, learned, and, I have no doubt, 
beautiful ladies present, but as the room was so dark, I 
cannot speak with absolute certainty on the last point. Just 
as I came in, and without Lady Wilde having the least idea 
that I was in Dublin, she had been showing my ' poor face,' 
as our American friend, Mr. Bradford, would say, to the 
aforesaid ladies. In this point of view, if, indeed, there was 
any point of view, the Camera Obsciira was rather to my 
advantage. Another of Lady Wilde's visitors was the cele- 
brated and many-sided Mr. Mahaffy. To this universal 
genius I was formally introduced, and he to me, by Lady 
Wilde, she standing between us on the hearthrug, and 
towering over us in her grand and queenly proportions. . . . 
I told Lady Wilde about the * Howling Dervishes of Song,* 
with which phrase and its probable application she was 
equally pleased. She mentioned that, having seen some 
extract from * The White Czar,' she wrote to a lady in 
Boston to send her the whole poem. This wish was conveyed 
to Longfellow, and he at once sent the poem with an interest- 
ing letter from himself. . . . 

''July II. — Box of beautiful flowers from Miss Gilbert. 
Sent her a rhyming post-card. 

" (* In November,' writes Mr. John MacCarthy, ' he visited 
Dublin on business, staying at Villa Nova, at the pressing 
invitation of Mr. Gilbert and his sister, from the 6th to the 
1 8th. He mentions meeting there at dinner Dr. Nedley, 
C. O'Donnel, T. Martin, Dr. Waller, Mr. Garstin, Dr. Banks, 



Miss Lawless, and others. He and the Gilberts accepted 
invitations also from Dr. R. R. Madden, Dr. T. More Madden, 
John O'Hagan, and Gilbert Sanders.') 

November 8. — Went with G. to the R.I. Academy. 
November i6. — Still with my dear friends. Nothing 
can exceed their kindness. 

^'November i8. — Left my dear friends this evening. 
Crossed in the LeinsterT 

The following passages from letters relate to this visit : — 

" On Sunday Gilbert and I called on Gilbert Sanders at 
Monkstown, and found Dr. Waller there. Mr. Sanders has 
kindly asked me to meet the doctor at dinner on Thursday next, 
and the Gilberts will also be with him. They insist on my 
going. I dined with John O'Hagan on yesterday. G. could 
not go, as it was the first meeting of the Academy for the 
year, and the first day of the dinner club. 

" He was again the guest of his kind friends at Villa 
Nova in the May of this year (1879), when he went over to 
take part in the celebration in honour of Moore, going to 
various concerts and other entertainments with them.') 

" Jtme 7. — On yesterday I called at Mrs. Jeremiah 
Dunne's in Fitzwilliam Square, in acceptance of her invitation 
to witness the athletic sports, lawn-tennis, etc., from her 
windows. She had a splendid d^jeuner^ and there were 
numerous ladies to whom I was presented. . . . She was, as 
usual, most cordial and friendly. The Gilberts afterwards 
came, and J. T. and I were brought up to one of the higher 
rooms, where there were two or three ladies. J. T. was so 
brilliant that one of the ladies called him ' the Sheridan of 
our day.* 

" Jtme 1 1. — On Monday, 9th, my kind hosts gave another 
dinner-party. It consisted of Dr. Tisdall, Dr. and Mrs. 
Lyons, Dr. Banks, Mr. Scott of the Mail^ Capt. Smyth, 
lately returned from Cyprus. Tisdall recited in the evening 
several pieces, including Waller's * Peter Brown,* which was 
very successful. . . . 

" June 20. — Left my dear friends at Villa Nova. 



" Jtily I. — Sent squib to G. 

" July 22. — Card from Miss Gilbert, who, with J. T., 
arrived last night at their cousins', 69, Holland Road. 

" July 27. — F. and I met J. T., his cousins, Mrs. and Miss 
Gilbert, and his sister at the Cathedral. Walked home with 

July 28.— Went with Miss Gilbert and Mrs. Gilbert to 
the British Museum. Asked Dr. Garnett to get permission 
for them to see the * Roman de la Rose.* He came with us 
to the MSS. Department, where Mr. Thompson and Mr. 
Birch were most attentive. Saw several most beautiful manu- 
scripts, Saxon and others. Walked through the Museum 
with the ladies. Mem. — Pericles and Nicolini, etc. 

*' November 10. — Went to Dublin. 
November 12. — Called at Villa Nova. Saw Miss Gilbert, 
J. T., and Miss Murray. Asked me to come and dine to-day 
or to-morrow, but could not. 

" In opposition to every remonstrance, my kind friends 
have invited Martin Haverty, John Cornelius O'Callaghan, and 
other distinguished scribes of the Gael, to meet me on Sunday 
at dinner. This will postpone my departure until Monday, 
when I am determined to close my ears against the seductions 
of the sirens, and pass, I hope securely, between the Scylla 
of Howth and the Charybdis of Holyhead. ... I called on 
Fr. Russell yesterday, but he was away. G. had a long 
letter this morning about the Ashburnham Library from 
Cashel Hoey. . . . 

" 1880. 

"May II. — Came yesterday to 22, Upper Fitzwilliam 
Street (at the invitation of Judge and Hon. Mrs. O'Hagan). 
At dinner this evening : David and Thomas Pigot, Michael 
Dwyer, Prof. Ornsby, Gilbert. . . . Pleasant dinner. 

"May 23. — Gilbert called, but I was out. 

''May 24. — Called at Chaiing Cross Hotel to see G. with 
F. and B. He was out. Left cards and note. 

** (* In the course of this and of the following year, my 



father mentions further correspondence with Mr. Gilbert, and 
when he finally came to Ireland, it was Miss Gilbert who 
selected the cottage in which he died, and their kindness and 
attention continued unabated until the end.') " 

From Dr. R, Gardiner, 

"June, 1877. 

" If you are not thinking of printing the diary, would you 
be inclined to edit it for the Camden Society ? It is short, 
and would do for our Miscellany. I do not think it will give 
you much trouble. If you consent, I would try to get the 
Council's approval next month. All the notices about Sir 
James Ware you would thus get, and we would have the 
copy made at our expense. The rest I will have copied for 
you if you like, but there is, I think, nothing about the Ware 
family in it. It is all about bishops and deans, etc., which 
Ware probably worked up into his books." 

From the Chevalier Nigra, 

" St. Petersbourg, le 25 Juin, 1877. 

" Monsieur, 

"Je suis extremement sensible a la pensee que 
vous avez eu de m'envoyer une copie de votre * Account ' 
que j'ai trouve tres interessant. J'ai aussi lu avec le plus vif 
interet votre lettre du 4 courant. Permettez moi de vous 
exprimer ici tous mes remerciments. 

" Je n'ai pas regu la copie qui m'a ete destinee du ' Fac- 
similes.' Si elle m'a ete envoyee, elle a du rester a I'ambassade 
d'ltalie a Paris, selon toute probabilite. Je vais faire faire 
les recherches necessaires a ce sujet, car j'attache beaucoup 
de prix a cette publication importante, qui certainement doit 
faire beaucoup d'honneur a son savant editeur. 

" Par suite de mes occupations diplomatiques, qui so sont 
encore accrues apres mon deplacement de Paris a St. Peters- 
bourg, j'ai du interrompre la publication des * Reliquie 



Celtiche.' J'espere pouvoir reprendre cette publication 
apres la guerre actuelle. Le second fascicule doit com- 
prendre, entre autre choses, des observations nouvelles sur le 
MS. de St. Gall, et les gloses du MS. irlandais de Berne du 
IX. siecle. 

" Je vous remercie beaucoup de I'offre obligeante que 
vous me faites au sujet des MSS. existant a Dublin, et a 
Toccasion j'en profiterai avec reconnaissance. J'ai re^u en 
bon temps les copies du ' Leabbar na h-Uidhri ' et du * Leabhar 
Breac' Je fais des vceux pour que vous puissiez bientot nous 
donner la reproduction du 'Book of Leinster,' et j'apprends 
avec une vive satisfaction que vous etes pres de terminer ce long 
travail. J'espere que M. Ascoli commencera prochainement 
la publication du MS. de Milan qui est extremement im- 
portant pour I'anciennete et la quantite de gloses irlandaises. 
A I'aide de toutes ces publications on pourra enfin compiler 
le glossaire irlandais (surtout de I'ancien irlandais), qui est 
un grand desideratum de tous ceux qui s'occupent de langues 
celtiques. Comme les formes les plus anciennes et les mieux 
conservees de la langue irlandaise se trouvent dans les MSS. 
du IX™^ siecle, je crois qu'il serait imprudent de penser a la 
compilation d'un glossaire irlandais avant la publication des 
gloses de Milan. Ces gloses, avec celles des MSS. de St. 
Gall, de Turin, de Carlsriihe, de Wurzburg, de Berne, de 
Vienne, et des plus anciens MSS. insulaires, doivent former 
la base solide et sure de tout glossaire irlandais redige dans 
un but strictement scientifique. 

" Je n'ai pas pu jusqu'ici me rendre compte de la dis- 
cussion qui s'est elevee entre I'Academie Royale d'Irlande et 
M. Stokes, au sujet de Texactitude des publications precitees. 
Mais aussitot que j'aurai un peu de temps disponible je me 
propose de me mettre au courant de cette occasion, et si vous 
pourrez me procurer un exemplaire du rapport de la com- 
mission nommee par I'Academie Royale je le recevrai avec 
reconnaissance et je le lirai avec interet et avec profit. 

J'oubliai de vous dire que j'ai regu aussi en bon temps 
les precieuses publications du Dr. Sullivan. Mais je regrette 




de n'avoir pas encore eu le temps d'etudier la derniere, qui 
doit etre Tune des plus importantes, savoir 'Manners and 
Customs of the Ancient Irish.' J'en commen^ais la lecture 
lorsque j'ai du quitter Paris, et m'adonner a d'autres 

^' Si vous avez quelques publications a m'envoyer, je vous 
prie de I'adresser a M. Catalani, secretaire de I'ambassade 
d'ltalie a Londres. Je lui ecrirai de vouloir bien se charger 
de me faire parvenir ce que vous aurez la bonte de lui 
envoyer a mon adresse. 

" II ne me reste qu'a vous remercier encore de votre 
lettre obligeante et a vous prier de vouloir bien agreer 
I'expression de ma consideration la plus distinguee. 

" Votre devoue, 

" Nigra. 

"P.S. — Si vous avez I'occasion de vous rencontrer avec 
le digne Lord Talbot de Malahide, veuillez, je vous prie, 
lui transmettre mes voeux sinceres pour sa sante, et mes 
meilleurs souvenirs." 

From Thomas Kerslake. 

" 14, West Park, Bristol, June 7, 1877. 

"Dear Sir, 

"I stumbled upon the Bristol colony at Dublin 
in the course of examining the topographical distribution 
of the dedications of St. Werburgh in consequence of the 
project to sell and destroy our central church, and was at 
first puzzled with the outlying one at Dublin. At first I was 
content to attribute it to intercourse with Chester, where 
was also a St. Bridget that might have come by a reverse 
of the same process, until I met with the visit of King 
Dermot to Bristol and his probable interview with Strongbow 
here suggested by Seyer in his ' Memoirs (not the Charters) 
of Bristol,' 4to, 1821. I then turned to Hogenberg's plan of 
Dublin, and was struck by the parallel of the names of the 


intra-mural churches with those of Bristol, and turning over 
Archdall's 'Monasticon' and some other books, exchanged 
what I had said about Chester for the paragraph about 
Bristol. Seyer is likely to have done all that Bristol archives 
could have helped him to, for they were placed at his com- 
mand, and he had perseverance and curiosity that would not 
have lost sight of anything to his purpose. Our St. Ewen 
was constantly written St. Audoenus in charters, and some- 
times Owen, but St. Ewen survived here as the name of the 
church. But the identity of the name vanishes off on all sides 
into the confines of the Norman S. Ouen, the Cornish Uny 
(perhaps Irish), the Irish Eoghan, the Cambrian Eugenius, 
and variations and confluences of them, and perhaps of 
others like them. 

" If you have not seen Seyer's ' Memoirs of Bristol,' I 
think his work will be to your purpose. I believe many of 
the seaport towns of east Ireland contained Bristol colonies. 
Many years ago, a correspondent of mine at Youghal claimed 
a descent of that borough from Bristol. In fact, the great 
intercourse between Ireland and the Bristol Channel from 
much earlier times seems to be a subject that would be of 
great interest. You will remember the rebuke of Bishop 
Wulfstan to Bristol for its slave trade with Ireland. The 
Irish dedications on both sides of the Bristol Channel are a 
remarkable evidence of a still earlier intercourse which I 
have endeavoured to bring into notice in a paper which 
I presumed to read in Cornwall last summer, and which is 
printing for next number of the Journal of the British 
Archaeological Association ; but to do it justice, Welsh and 
Irish learning are both wanted, and to me they are both 
wanting. The Rev. J. F. Shearman, of Howth, is working 
out the Irish side of it with great skill and learning, but he 
keeps only on the Irish side, and does not bridge St. George s 
Channel, and the names are rather distorted when they 
land here. 

" I read your account of the National Manuscripts with 
much interest, and derived information from it bearing upon 



what I have said above. My meddling with such things is 
only recent and accidental, and, I am conscious, is also pre- 
sumptuous, and I ought therefore to apologise for enlarging 
upon it to such an accomplished and eminent an expert as you. 
I am, Dear Sir, 

" Your obedient Servant, 

"Thomas Kerslake." 

From W. de G. Bi7^ch. 

"British Museum, London, July 12, 1877. 
" We have not acquired many new seals lately : the 
largest collection being that of H. Laing, devoted in the 
main to Scottish seals. There are among them, however, 
a few that may be worth your examining when you have 
an opportunity. With regard to my work on the Utrecht 
Psalter, I cannot say that I have adopted any previous views 
of the age of the manuscript. Having gone into the subject 
in an independent and more exhaustive manner than any 
other writers, my opinion is founded upon new and more 
direct evidence. But you should endeavour to acquire the 
work for your official library of books of reference, for, if 
I may say so without appearing to be boastful, there is much 
in it, apart from the history of the Utrecht Psalter, calcu- 
lated to be of great assistance to the general student of 
Palaeography, and in this class we are delighted to hail you 
as a prominent person. I shall be glad to show you any 
new things when you are in London." 

From D, F. Mac Car thy. 

" Boulogne, July 18, 1877. 
" I am glad that you thought my letter on the subject 
of Tom Moore of sufficient importance to send to Lady 
Wilde. I confess I was rather surprised that the editor of 
the AtheiKEum gave it so much space. Moore has been so 
persistently run down, or attempted to be run, by the present 


conceited school of philosophical critics, that I longed for 
an opportunity of saying a word or two to show that he was 
* still remembered in Erin,' or perhaps by those who ought 
to be in Erin. Just before I left London I was at an evening 
reception in the house of Mrs. William Rossetti, in Euston 
Square. The rooms were crowded with artists and literary 
people of every kind. Among these I had the pleasure of 
meeting the wife of my namesake, Mr. Justin MacCarthy, 
one of the ablest novelists of the day. A semi-German lady, 
a great authority on Shelley matters, was also there. I 
endeavoured to say a word or two in favour of the Bard of 
Erin, but found it would not do — his flowers are all arti- 
ficial, etc. — so that I was not sorry that in the Athenmim of 
the following day or so my indirect protest on the subject 
of Moore appeared. 

"There is little chance of finding the Alithinologia and 
its supplement, 1664- 1667, in Boulogne. There is only one 
old bookshop in the town, and from my inspection of the 
Public Library in the Grande Rue on Sunday last, I have 
little hope of ever seeing them there. Perhaps you would 
transcribe for me the full title of the recent German edition 
of the * Legends of St. Brendan,' a copy of which is in the 
Library of the R.I.A. I have a copy of the volume myself, 
but it is now boxed up and out of my reach. In alluding 
to the Moore letter, I forgot to mention the reply which the 
AthencBiim of last Saturday (July 14) was requested to give 
to my statement. It appears that the only subscriptions 
received in a period of seven years were from myself! Thus 
it would appear that the only person in these degenerate 
days that would make the slightest pecuniary sacrifice to 
honour the memory of Moore is one of the poorest and 
humblest of his own class. John has doubtless paid you 
a visit before this. If you look into the last number of 
Notes and Queries, July 14, 1877, p. 35, you will find an 
interesting allusion to him. You, perhaps, may not know 
that he is tremendously deep in the Phoenician and other 
easily acquired languages. The following refers to some 



paper of his on a cognate subject, and is signed by the name 
of * Hyde Clarke : * * Mr. MacCarthy's hint is a good one as 
to the name Assyrian. It bears better on Dr. Deacke's 
discovery than he allows.* What a pity these studies and 
this learning cannot be turned to some profitable account! 
I should have been delighted to meet my old friends, 
Dr. R. R. Madden and W. K. Sullivan, and to have made 
the acquaintance of Oscar Wilde, who has so much amiable 
enthusiasm about everything that is beautiful and good." 

From Dr, R. Gardiner. 

*' Zetland House, The Promenade, 

" Bridlington Quay, 

"August 2, 1877. 

" I have asked Dobb to send you Sweetman's Calendar 
(vol. 2), which I think you will like to review. I trust you 
received a * History of Belfast ' for the same purpose. I shall 
be back in London on September 6. Could you let me have 
something on the Belfast book? We are having the most 
wretchedly wet and gloomy weather here, which takes all 
the enjoyment out of a holiday." 

From the Same, 

" November 6. 

" I have been intending to write to you for some days to 
ask you whether your book is to be published for a society 
or by subscription. If the latter, I should very much like to 
put my name down for it. I look forward to reading it with 
the greatest interest. I am ashamed to trouble you, but I 
am very anxious to have the reviews you promised us as 
soon as possible." 

From the Same, 

" November 28. 

" We should be delighted to have an article on Davies, 
if, as I suppose, it is a new book. Your proof will be sent 
you in a few days. Would it be advisable to add the proper 



names which Sweetman disguises ? They are, of course, 
famih'ar to you, but may not be obvious to all here. Did 
you note any special absurdity in the Plantation ? If you 
thought you had time to do it, I should like to send it to 
you. It would naturally have gone to Dr. Russell, but I 
hear he is ill from the effects of an accident." 

From the Same. 

" December 18. 

" Thank you for Grosart's notes. I sifted about five large 
bundles of documents, and I suppose Davies' letter slipped me, 
unless my notion of what is important and Grosart's may 
have differed. 

" I dare say you will be able to make an article on Davies 
quite lively, as he is so interesting a writer, in great contrast 
to Sweetman's Calendar, the article on which will go in this 
week I hope. I found my notice of the Plantation of Ulster 
was already in type. I enclose it, so that if you think it 
good enough, or the book is not worth more, it can go in. 
If you have more to say, and will let me know, I will have 
it cancelled." 

H. S. Sweetman, Record Office, London, writes (De- 
cember 13) — 

" In the letter which you were good enough to write me 
to Dublin last autumn you mentioned that you had some 
originals of records abstracted by me in the second volume 
of my calendar. Do you happen to have among them the 
original of the Inquisition of Mortimer's lands, abstracted 
in pp. 466-468 of that volume t If so, I hope that you will 
kindly allow me, when next I go to Dublin, an opportunity of 
seeing and taking notes of that original, as the record here 
is quite illegible in parts. I should thus be enabled, when 
I give an Addendtim^ as I shall have to do at a future date, 
to fill up some of the blanks which I was unfortunately 
obliged to leave, for the above reason, in my abstract of the 
record here. 



"Dr. Gardiner, the antiquarian editor of the Academy 
here, told me a couple of months ago that you were about 
to review my second volume in its pages. I was glad to hear 
that the work was to be undertaken by one so thoroughly 
competent, especially in regard to records and Irish history, 
as yourself. I am anxious to read your review, and hope 
that it will be out soon." 

Fro77t Rev, F, E. Warren, B.D. 

" St. John's College, Oxford, 

" October 13, 1877. 

"My dear Sir, 

"When I was staying with Mr. Bell at Burnt- 
island recently, he showed me an allusion in your hand- 
writing to an Irish Missal, which you are describing in your 
forthcoming volume. He promised to ascertain for me what 
Missal was alluded to. But as his words in a letter just 
received are not explicit, I am taking the liberty of writing 
to you myself for this information. 1 am merely anxious for 
the name of the possessor, the place where kept, and the 
probable date of the Missal, if of a later date than the 
eleventh century. I should be glad to know whether, like 
the Drummond and Rosslyn Missals, it is merely the Sarum 
use with variations. I am engaged on some account of early 
British Liturgies, in the widest sense, from a purely liturgical, 
not a palseographical, point of view, and these points of 
information would be most acceptable if you will forgive the 
liberty which an utter stranger takes in thus writing to you. 

" I remain, yours faithfully, 

"F. E. Warren, B.D., 
" Vice-President of S. John's College, Oxford." 


From Dr. Robert Travel's, 

" Williamstown, Blackrock, co. Dublin, 

"November 4, 1877. 

"Dear Sir, 

" In reply to your note of yesterday relative to 
the Manuscript Diary of Archbishop Narcissus Marsh, all 
the information I can give is this : — 

" It came by bequest from the Library of Bishop Stearne 
(Clogher), and had been bound up in a volume with some 
printed tracts. This appeared to be an inappropriate condi- 
tion, yet it was only with great reluctance that the authorities 
assented to its being separated and made a volume by itself. 
Few people knew of its existence previous to the year 1833, 
when I printed some extracts from it in the notice of the 
Library, which I prefixed to the catalogue of the Duplicates 
sold in that year. The late Bishop Mant (Down and Connor), 
who published some extracts from it several years later, 
probably derived his knowledge of it from my catalogue 
of the Duplicates ; yet he has somehow got the credit of 
being the first to communicate it to the public. Dr. Todd 
employed a transcriber to copy the Diary, and from that 
transcript, which was ver}^ incorrect, was published the entire 
in the BritisJi Magazine. It appeared in portions through 
several successive numbers of that periodical, as I have reason 
to recollect, from having had the trouble imposed on me of 
correcting the proof-sheets and revises by comparison with 
the Library manuscript, and had then to transmit them to 
the editor of the magazine in London. Though I had done 
all this with great care, and had much expense in postages 
(at that time much heavier than now), it was all taken as 
matter of course, unworthy of acknowledgment. This is, 
however, but one, and a trivial one, of the many instances 
of ingratitude and injustice I have experienced in connection 
with work to which I have sacrificed the greater part of my 
life, of which experiences I may have some better opportunity 
of giving a relation. 



" In the account of the Library which I furnished to 
Croly's Medical Directory of 1843, I also introduced some 
passages from Archbishop Marsh's Manuscript Diary. 

" Yours very truly, 

" Robert Travers." 

From Rev. F. E, Warren, B.D, 

" St. John's College, Oxford, 

" March 25, 1878. 

"My DEAR Sir, 

" My best thanks are due to you for the copy of 
current Academy containing a personal announcement with 
regard to yourself and your interesting account of the C.C.C. 
Oxford Missal. I have ascertained that at any moment I 
may get leave from the College to print the Missal in full, as 
proposed by Mr. Bradshaw in Academy No. 297. But by itself 
it would have too limited a circulation to defray the cost of 
putting into type. All my efforts to get at the Stowe Missal 
have been hitherto unavailing. 

" I remain, yours faithfully, 

" R E. Warren, B.D." 


I 879-1 880 

Literary Life and Works — " Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland, 
1641-1652" — Completion of the Facsimiles of National Manuscripts 
of Ireland — "History of the Irish Confederation and the War in 
Ireland " — Rinuccini Manuscript Memoirs — Trustee of the National 
Library of Ireland — Letters. 

Gilbert was now working with all his former activity, and 
the result was very great. Besides his larger undertakings, 
he contributed to the Academy, the Athenmtm, and other 
reviews, valuable articles on learned subjects. The multi- 
tudinous letters written to him during these years reflect 
in some degree his working life, and almost all would be 
found interesting if not too numerous for the limits of this 
book. Letters from transcribers and engravers, the former 
connected with the British Museum, Bodleian Library, and 
other such great centres, remain in large numbers, throwing 
light on what may be called the mechanical part of archi- 
vistic work, which "mechanical" work must, however, be 
done by men of special learning. Gilbert was on the most 
friendly terms with many able transcribers, and their letters 
are evidence of his generous spirit in dealing with all whom 
he employed during the long years in which he pursued 
his untiring researches. His appearance in the Bodleian 
Library was always affectionately greeted, and the Rev. 
H. O. Coxe, the then librarian, was his particular friend. 
Another class of letters, asking for information on every 
imaginable subject, might supply amusing reading. Gilbert 
was supposed to know the past of every family, and of their 




most distant connections (of whom his correspondents them- 
selves were ignorant), not only belonging to Ireland, but 
even slightly linked with that country ; to be able to identify 
an individual to whom a tombstone had been erected in 
some Irish graveyard centuries (more or less) ago, name 
and date being unknown to the anxious inquirer. The 
minute histories of portraits, bells, obscure churches, arts, 
trades, occupations of all kinds and all times, and the persons 
concerned in them, never to mention books or manuscripts, 
were supposed to be so present to his mind that he could 
send by return of post a complete treatise on the subject in 
question to an unknown correspondent. 
One stranger writes — 

" I am sure that in the course of your researches you 

must have made valuable notes on [a special subject 

mentioned], and I hope you will be good enough to send 
them to me, as material for a book that I am thinking of 

A considerable share of his time was willingly given in 
response to such letters of inquiry as proceeded from sources 
worthy of attention ; and he often spent hours taken from 
his own urgent work, in collating and preparing condensed 
information to be despatched to a fellow-labourer who had 
appealed to him for help. 

In 1879 he began to publish the "Contemporary History 
of Affairs in Ireland," the first of his great works dealing 
with the stormy period of the war in Ireland, extending from 
the year 1641 to the year 1652, printing for the first time 
a unique and remarkable manuscript entitled "The Apho- 
rismical Discovery of Treasonable Faction," which he had 
discovered among the muniments of Trinity College, Dublin. 
In these volumes he has given a historical account of the 
subject-matter of an original record made during the period 
of the war ; and each volume of the " Aphorismical Dis- 
covery " is followed by an appendix of valuable letters and 
documents — a harvest of extraordinary research. Many of 
the writings are here printed for the first time, and the whole 



forms a mass of contemporary evidence newly brought to 
light, and reflecting the thoughts, motives, and methods, as 
well as the movements, of the Irish at a critical period of 
their history. 

" The object of the present work," writes Gilbert, " is to 
furnish original and authentic contemporary materials towards 
elucidating the history of the important affairs in which 
Ireland and her people were concerned from 1641 to the 
close of 1652. The hitherto received accounts of the trans- 
actions of those years in Ireland have been based mainly on 
statements issued under Governmental licence, or compiled 
by writers influenced by political and religious prejudices 
and personal interests. For the purposes of history, it is 
desirable to collect and render accessible such still surviving 
unpublished and rare materials as may assist us to estimate 
truly the acts and motives of the various parties who engaged 
in those grave civil and military contests. 

**The manuscript of the * Aphorismical Discovery' was 
written between 1652 and 1660. About 1697 it was in 
possession of John Madden, President of the Dublin College 
of Physicians. From him it passed into the library of John 
Stearne, Protestant Bishop of Clogher, who, in 1741, pre- 
sented it with other books to Trinity College, Dublin, where 
it is still preserved. For its curious title it depends on the 
whim or prudence of the author, who opens each of his 
chapters with an aphorism applicable to his narrative, for 
which aphorisms he 'seems to have been mainly indebted 
to Sir Robert Dallington's compilations from Guicciardini, 
published in 161 3 and 1629,' the term * faction' being used 
to designate the parties moving in opposition to those who, 
as he conceived, acted for the true interest of his countrymen. 
He writes as a soldier and an eye-witness, and is evidently 
a man of learning, and familiar with Latin, Spanish, Italian, 
French, and Gaelic. His language is the English spoken in 
Ireland in the first half of the seventeenth century, with a 
mixture of Gaelic, Spanish, and military terms. The style 
is colloquial, humorous, declamatory, pathetic, occasionally 



obscure through effort at condensation. He writes in sym- 
pathy with his countrymen who, devoted to Charles I., had 
taken arms for the protection, as they alleged, of their own 
lives, properties, and rights, against the oppressions and 
hostile designs of the dominant Puritan faction. The nar- 
rative abounds in interesting, minute, and authentic details, 
not elsewhere so fully on record, in connection with the 
personages chiefly concerned in the transactions chronicled 
in its pages. It is of special value in reference to the views 
and acts of descendants of the old Celtic race of the north 
of Ireland, represented by Owen Roe O'Neill and his 'Ulster 
party,' as distinguished from the Irish of the other provinces 
as well as from the Anglo-Irish and the Irish Scots." 

From Dr, S. R, Gardiner, 

" South View, Widmore Road, Bromley, Kent, 

" November 24, 1879. 

" I am getting more interested in the appearance of your 
book on the Irish Rebellion, as I arn approaching the subject 
more closely. I am now working at Strafford's trial, so that 
I shall be at the Irish Rebellion by next spring, or summer. 
Is there any hope of your book being out by that time ? " 

From the Same, 

" December 9, 1879. 
" I am sorry the Irish articles are bad, but we can't get 
Irish scholars to help us. You have no time, and those we 
tried had no time either, or insisted on filling half a number 
in reviewing a single book in a most minute manner. If you 
can suggest any happy medium, Eris mihi magnus Apollo!^ 

From the Same, 

"March 25, 1880. 
" I have at last got to the Irish Rebellion, and was 
intending to write to consult you. In the first place, can 



you tell me anything of a book called ' Hibernia Anglicana ' ? 
Froude quotes some remarkable things from it about an 
intrigue of the King's with Antrim in 1641, but my expe- 
rience is not such as to allow me to take anything from 
Froude's statement that he has seen it. I cannot find the 
book in the Museum by that title. Perhaps there is an 
author's name to it, or it may be published by some society. 

"Then, can you tell me whether I ought to see the 
volumes of the Depositions in Trinity College Library, or 
whether Lecky's account of them is sufficiently accurate, and 
whether there are materials at Dublin unpublished which I 
ought to see ? " 

From the Same, 

"March 30, 1880. 

" I am sorry to have troubled you about the ' Hibernia 
Anglicana/ as I turned up the proper reference this after- 
noon in Prendergast's ' Cromwellian Settlement.' 

"The question, however, is not about Cox's own work, 
but about the paper printed in the Appendix xHx. as con- 
taining Antrim's account of certain secret negotiations with 
Charles I. in 1641. I am strongly inclined to accept the 
story as substantially true ; it chimes in wonderfully with 
what I have gathered from various sources about Charles's 
proceedings in England. 

" Lecky's account in chapter vi. in the second volume of 
the * History of England in the Eighteenth Century ' seems 
to me to be singularly fair and painstaking, in so far as I 
have yet been able to understand the matter. 

" I shall be very glad of your Report on the Depositions. 
I dare say Cartwright at the Record Office will let me see 
a proof when ready, if you allow it. 

" I shall be extremely grateful for the new volumes of 
the ' Aphorismical Discovery.' The description of the return 
of the Agents and the naming of Ormond in connection with 
Sir P. O'Neill, which look odd (vol. i., pp. 11, 12), seem to 



corroborate the Antrim story, as an indistinct memory of it. 
I think, too, I have found something in the Rossetti letters 
which looks the same way ; but that I must see to." 

From the Same. 

"March 31, 1880. 
" I must thank you at once for your book. The letters 
about Drogheda are very interesting. I can see how ex- 
tremely useful it will all be to me some day. I was reading 
to-day a curious letter from the Council to Vane, April 24, 
1 641, expressing their strong view that the Plantation of 
Connaught ought to be proceeded with. I don't think it 
has been noticed, but it is a clear exposition of the state of 
feeling about these plantations in the Dublin Government." 

From the Same. 

"October 26, 1880. 
"Thank you very heartily for the completion of your 
valuable present. I hope I may live to work the mine 
which you have opened." 

From Dr, R. R. Madden. 

" 3, Vernon Terrace, Booterstown, 

"May 12, 1880. 

"My dear Gilbert, 

" I received on Saturday the four volumes of the 
' Contemporary History of Ireland.' What vast labour that 
great work must have occasioned you ! 

" I was glad to see our friend MacCarthy to-day. I was 
trying to persuade him, that although a man may Hve any- 
where for a certain number of years, he can only die decently 
in his own land ; ergo, he should think of coming back as 
soon as he could. 

" Yours, my dear Gilbert, 

" Ever faithfully, 

"R. R. Madden." 


With this inauguration of his works on the Irish wars of 
the seventeenth century, Gilbert entered on a new phase 
of his many-sided career, and took upon himself the respon- 
sibility of giving to his age, before it might be too late to 
baffle the destroying industry of the damp and the moth, 
those truths which he knew lay hidden between mouldering 
vellums and behind barriers of falsehood. Being on the less 
favoured side in religion and politics, he had nothing to hope 
for in the way of that encouragement to genius and labour 
which, under other circumstances, would have been eagerly 
accorded to him in his native city. 

Truly John Gilbert, the elder, spoke shrewdly as a Pro- 
testant when he warned his Catholic wife that in baptizing 
their boy in her own faith she was doing him a wrong with 
regard to this world. He spoke at the period described by 
Macaulay in 1837, t)ut Gilbert, owing perhaps to the peculiar 
difficulties of the career on which his genius thrust him, was 
destined to realize the truth of his father's prediction all 
along the line of his indomitable and single-handed labours. 
Resolved to publish nothing on a darkened page of history 
unaccompanied by the printing of the incontrovertible docu- 
ment, nothing that could be rejected as the " partisan " 
writing of "a Jacobite and a Romanist," he continued to 
issue limited editions to subscribers of important works in 
elucidation of that obscurity which had hitherto been the 
stronghold of falsehood. The books, produced in the best 
style of workmanship by Dublin printers and binders, 
under his own supervision, were anxiously looked for and 
eagerly welcomed by the learned of all lands, and took their 
honoured places on the shelves of the great libraries of the 

Any one who observes the method and manner of his 
work must perceive that no historical writer of reputation 
and authority was ever less of a partisan than Gilbert. His 
contempt for pages of brilliant falsehood determined him on 
reserving his own personality as a writer behind the naked 
statements of the contemporary document, while with every 




written word of his own he illumined, but forbore to 
exaggerate or varnish. 

For these reasons his weightiest works are hardly those 
which all who run may read. Eyes accustomed to take their 
information from posters seldom look into finer print, and 
the hasty gleaner of a popular book of history will content 
himself with a dubious glance at the lettering on the backs 
of a row of volumes of the " Contemporary History of Affairs 
in Ireland," or the " History of the Irish Confederation and 
the War in Ireland." 

About this time he began to find his position in his work 
somewhat anomalous. His name, his outward surround- 
ings and associations, placed him in unreal lights from the 
different points of view of various critics or mere careless 
observers. While facing the fire of the enemy on one side, 
he was looked on coldly from a distance by many on the 
other. A letter remains, written to him by a priest, his 
friend, relating with humour a recent conversation with a 
Catholic dignitary whom he had met in the street, and 
greeted with " Have you seen Gilbert's latest book ? " " Read 
Gilbert ? " cried the Catholic dignitary, " I would not read a 
word the fellow writes. He is a Protestant, and a bigoted 
Trinity College man ! " 

Well might he have cried, "A plague on both your 
houses ! " but his unfailing sense of the humorous invariably 
came to his aid on such trying occasions. He held on his 
way, undisturbed by applause and undaunted by censure ; 
and the genial, the liberal, and the wise of every creed and 
country were eager to accord their appreciation of his genius 
and his courage, and were glad to call him " friend." 

Proceeding with the production in facsimile of his selection 
of the National Manuscripts of Ireland, he continued to 
issue the condensed history of the different periods to which 
they belonged, which he modestly entitled an " Account " of 
the manuscripts. 

On receiving the third instalment of this work, the author 
of " The Cromwellian Settlement " wrote to him — 

From John P, Prendergast. 

" 127, Strand Road, Sandymount, Dublin, 

"April 20, 1880. 

" My dear Gilbert, 

"You have made me your debtor for the third 
part of the commentary and description of the National 
Manuscripts. It at once sent me to read again the two first 
parts before entering on this latest one ; and slightly less 
ignorant than when I read them a couple of years ago, I can 
the better appreciate their value, which is enormous. 

" Yours very truly, 

"John P. Prendergast." 

In 1880 the work was completed, and Gilbert wrote as 
follows on the matter to his friend, Sir Edward Sullivan, 
Baronet, Master of the Rolls in Ireland : — 

From J, T. Gilbert to the Master of the Rolls. 

" Oxford, Bodleian Library, 

" November 20, 1880. 

"Dear Master of the Rolls, 

" I am happy to be able to write that I have now 
brought to a most satisfactory conclusion all my work on the 
collation and revision of the plates from the collections in 
England for the National Manuscripts of Ireland, in accordance 
with the arrangements made by H.M. Stationery Office, Lon- 
don. The authorities of that department have afforded me 
every facility, and this has been of the greatest advantage 
to the work. The coloured plates, including that containing 
the contemporary miniature of Oliver Cromwell, are really 
magnificent. The elaborate character of the plates required 
the minutest care and precision, but they will now be printed 
off as rapidly as practicable. On my return to Dublin on 
the 22nd, I will have the plates in progress, then finished 
without delay. 

I remain, 

" Your Lordships, very faithfully, 

" John T. Gilbert." 



A passage taken from the " Account of Facsimiles 
of National Manuscripts of Ireland," in which the editor 
announces the conclusion of his long labours on the work, 
explains his design, and his own estimate of his success in 
carrying it out — 

" This work is now concluded, and, so far as practicable, 
it has been carried out by the editor in accordance with his 
original design, as indicated at the commencement of the 

"The design was that the publication should constitute 
a comprehensive palaeographic series for Ireland, furnishing 
characteristic specimens of the documents that have come 
down from each of the classes which in past ages formed 
principal elements in her population, or exercised an influence 
in her affairs ; and, with these reproductions, combining 
facsimiles of writings connected with eminent personages or 
transactions of importance in her annals down to the early 
part of the eighteenth century. 

" The editor does not desire to enter here upon details of 
the many obstacles which he had to encounter in the progress 
of the work. The volumes will, he trusts, be found as free from 
defects as could be expected in a publication of such magnitude 
and comprehensiveness, dealing with recondite materials, and 
comprising writings of various ages, classes, and languages. 

"The value and interest of the series has been much 
augmented by the hitherto unpublished documents included 
in it through the liberality of the Duke of Devonshire, the 
Duke of Leinster, the Marquis of Ormonde, the Marquis of 
Drogheda, the Earl of Leicester, the Earl of Fingall, the 
Provost and Senior Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin ; the 
Royal Irish Academy, Dublin ; the Municipal Corporations 
of Dublin, Kilkenny, and Waterford. 

" The editor desires to acknowledge his obligations also 
to William Hardy, F.S.A., Deputy Keeper of the Public 
Records in England ; Edward A. Bond, LL.D. ; E. Maunde 
Thompson, Keeper of the Manuscripts, British Museum ; 
E. B. Nicholson, Bodley's Librarian, Oxford ; S. W. Kershaw, 



Librarian to the Archbishop of Canterbury ; Hans Claude 
Hamilton, F.S.A. ; and Alfred Kingston, Esq., London. 

" To the Right Honourable Sir Edward Sullivan, Baronet, 
now Lord Chancellor of Ireland, the editor is indebted for 
the continuous interest taken by him in the work from its 
commencement to its conclusion. 

" John T. Gilbert." 

"January 23, 1884." 

The undertaking which he had now most deeply at heart 
was the continuation of his elucidation of an obscure passage 
of his country's story ; and he proceeded to publish his 
" History of the Irish Confederation and the War in Ireland, 
1641-1652," which was another narrative of the war in Ireland 
from 164 1 to the conclusion of the treaty for the cessation 
of hostilities between England and the Irish in 1643, and, 
like the former work on the same period, included a mass of 
contemporary documents and letters, showing the movements 
of the Irish confederates, and of Rinuccini, the Pope's Nuncio, 
during his visit to Ireland. The manuscript of the narrative, 
at one time the property of Arthur, Earl of Anglesey, the 
friend of Richard Bellings,^ was identified by Gilbert as the 
long missing work known to have been written by Bellings. 
The historical consequence of the matter printed for the 
first time in this work was admitted to be incalculable. As 
the author of the " Aphorismical Discovery of Treasonable 
Faction " is the Irish contemporary historian of the war in 
the north, so is Bellings the exponent of the doings of the 
Confederates of Leinster, Munster, and Connaught. Gilbert's 
historical " Introduction " illumines the fascinating narrative, 
and is accompanied by correspondence and documents of 
the Confederation, and of the administrators of the English 
Government in Ireland. A list given of the noblemen and 
gentlemen of Ireland outlawed for high treason is of personal 
interest to many in the present day. The volumes are 

1 Author of **A Sixth Book to the Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia," and 
Secretary to the Supreme Council of the Irish Confederation. 



enriched with portraits, facsimiles of original letters and 
documents, seals and coins of the confederation, with maps 
and plans of battlefields and fortifications. For this work 
Gilbert's labours of research were immense. He had been 
laying up stores of documents, unearthed by his patient 
perseverance during a long course of years, riveting connect- 
ing links, and gathering treasure of corroborative evidence. 
" They will never be able to blacken that period again," he 
said, speaking with satisfaction of the admirable conduct of 
the Irish Confederates as the light of truth had revealed it. 

From Lord Arundel of War dour. 

''November i8, 1880. 
If it should happen that you wished to make any further 
researches here, and it was convenient to you to take us on 
your return route, we should be delighted to see you. 

" I know no reason why the cypher should not be that of 
Christopher Bellings. I found it in a book of memoranda 
referring to Irnham Hall in Lincolnshire, which passed from 
the Paganels, or Pagnells, to the Luttrells, and then to the 
Thimalbys and Conquests, from whom it came to my great- 
grandfather, and passed from him, or rather from my great- 
grandmother, to the Cliffords. I mention this as showing 
how scattered these memorials of the Bellings may be, so it 
is not at all impossible that the poem may be now at Stony- 
hurst, in what is called the Arundel Library ^ there. I think 
there were also printed papers or manuscripts connected with 
Ireland in the bequest to Stonyhurst, which were considered 
important, but they may have been the Grenville papers, 
and, if so, not connected with the period in which you are 

From the Smite, 

"September 21, 1880. 
I happened to mention the Ormonde deed (which I 
showed you here) to my neighbour, Mr. Alfred Morrison. It 

' The tenth Lord Arundel left his library to Stonyhurst College in Lancashire. 



interested him, as he is acquainted with Mr. Cheney of Badger 
Hall, Staffordshire, also with another bachelor brother, who has 
a property in the midland county ; they are the last represen- 
tatives of Sir — Cheney, who fought and distinguished him- 
self at the battle of Bosworth, and who is, I presume, identical 
with the Sir Cheney to whom the Earl of Ormonde con- 
veyed Wardour. By-the-by, Mr. Morrison tells me that he 
has recently purchased one of the three letters Mary Queen 
of Scots wrote the night before her execution. It is written 
in a clear but by no means flowing hand, almost without an 
erasure. It is a letter of considerable length. 

" I hope you had a pleasant passage across sea. Is 
Gilbert the contracted form of Gislebert ? 

From the Same, 

" November 2. 

" I had not known until you informed me that the experi- 
ment of viceroys, or lord lieutenants, for the four provinces 
of Ireland had been tried. What, however, I intended in my 
remark was more this, that if, historically, that mode of 
government had survived to these times, Ireland might 
perhaps be better governed now on those lines. Formerly 
centralization was the object aimed at, but now the object 
would rather seem to be how best to attract capital and 
secure residence on the part of the landlords, to which local 
viceroyalties would tend, but just now the Irish people seem 
intent on hooting capital out of the country and shooting 
landlords, in which case they cannot also have them as 

From Lord Acton. 

" Bavaria, July, 1880. 
I should have been extremely glad to be able to offer 
any contribution to the great work you are publishing. No 
letter of Ussher's has ever fallen in my way referring to his 



projected change. It is spoken of sometimes in Catholic 
writings of the day, perhaps also by Presbyterians. The 
common report was that he had put himself into communica- 
tion with Richelieu. The particular point I once alluded to 
was, that the negotiation was carried on by the Nuncio, 
and by friars who corresponded with him, and whose letters 
I had seen. There was nothing under the Archbishop's own 

From the Rev. Alexander Napier, 

" Holkham, Norfolk, September, 1880. 
" I have received Lord Leicester's directions to forward 
to you the Nuncio's Memoirs in 8 vols, folio (MS.). It 
will give me great pleasure to carry out his Lordship's 

The memoirs referred to were the famous Rinuccini 
Manuscripts, which were thus entrusted to Gilbert's keeping, 
and of them Mr. William Hardy wrote from the Record 
Office, London — 

I have read with great interest your communication of 
the 6th inst. I conclude that the work you allude to as 
having been used by Carte, and now lent you by its owner, 
the Earl of Leicester, will remain in your care for yet some 
time. There is no need, therefore, to determine at present 
whether a good calendar of its contents would not be prefer- 
able to its publication in exienso^ 

Government ultimately refused to publish the Rinuccini 
Manuscripts, and Gilbert, having made his report upon them 
for the Historical Manuscripts Commission, had a transcript 
of the whole made for his own purposes, forming a series of 
large volumes. 

In 1880 the appointment announced in the following 
letter was a source of much satisfaction to Gilbert, as affording 
him opportunities for taking a practical interest in the choice 
of books for the reading public of Ireland : — 



Frofu Norman MacLeod. 

" Science and Art Department, London, 

" November 22, 1880. 

" Sir, 

" I am directed by the Lords of the Committee of 
Council on Education to inform you that you have been 
nominated by His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant to fill the 
vacancy on the Council of Trustees of the National Library 
of Ireland caused by the death of the late Dr. Russell. 

" Their Lordships desire me to express a hope that you 
will give them the benefit of your advice and assistance in 
this office. 

" I am to draw your attention to the 5 th paragraph of 
Lord Sandon's letter to the Royal Dublin Society, of the 
9th February, 1876, of which a copy is enclosed. 
" I have the honour to be, sir, 

" Your obedient servant, 

" Norman MacLeod." 

On the occasion of this appointment the late Bernard 
Quaritch, the famous bookseller and bibliophile, wrote to him 
with characteristic frankness — - 

From Bernard Qtiaritch. 

" 15, Piccadilly, London, November 27, 1880. 

''Dear Sir, 

"I am very glad you got the appointment of 
Trustee to the National Library of Ireland, as I fear you are 
the only scholar now living who can claim to be thoroughly 
imbued with Celtic scholarship, and who at the same time 
knows the history of Ireland from all its aspects. 

" I hope you will have both power and the financial 
means to carry out your plans. 

" My late excellent friend, Dr. Russell, was too amiable, 
too much of a general scholar, and not enough of the Irish 
scholar, to have done full justice to his trust. 



" I love despotism, and I hope you will have despotic 
power. An enlightened despotism is the best of all govern- 

" Shall you have the power to wake up Trinity College 
from its state of torpor ? The library there has wanted a 
master for many years. 

You will find me at all times ready to serve you. 
" I remain, dear sir, 

" Yours very truly, 

" Bernard Quaritch." 

From the many congratulations on this appointment a 
letter is selected as coming from one whose large mind and 
noble qualities were appreciated and admired by Gilbert, and 
whose constant friendship he prized : — 

From the Marchioness of Ormonde, 

" The Holmwood Lodge, Dorking, Surrey, 

" December 7, 1880. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

"Your letter failed to reach me as soon as I 
could have wished, hindering me therefore from expressing 
what real, true pleasure it is to me to hear that the Govern- 
ment have a due appreciation of your talents and merits, of 
which the public have for long been well aware, and that they 
have made the very proper and wise choice of you as Trustee 
of the National Library. I am very glad, and congratulate 
you from my heart upon the appointment, which is so com- 
plimentary and so just. 

" It is too good of you, and I hardly like to say yes to 
your generous proposal to send me a copy of the last portion 
of the Kilkenny Castle Papers, for it seems encroaching too 
much on your kindness. But valued it would be very highly, 
you knew, by me. Should you carry out your intention, I 
return to Park Lane on Saturday. I was so sorry to find 



you had been in town during my absence, for I should have 
enjoyed having the pleasure of seeing you. 

" Believe me, 

" Yours very truly, 

" Frs. J. Ormonde." 

From Lord Talbot de Malahide, 

" Algiers, December. 

" Pray send me a copy of Davis' ballads. I have got the 
prospectus of the ' History of the Irish Confederation.' Pray 
reserve me a copy of it. The weather here is delightful, but 
there are no visitors. Sir John Lubbock has just come out 
for a short time, and has a villa here. There is also a small 
Irish colony : two Lady Kingstons, Lady Louisa Tenison, 
and the Smith Barrys. Pray accept the compliments of the 
season. As for ourselves, I never expect to outlive another 
happy Christmas." 

From J . J, Cartwright, Secretary to the Public 
Record Office, London, 

"Some time ago I think you named one or two good 
men as desirable new Commissioners to represent Ireland. 
Do you mind giving us a few suggestions in this matter, as 
it is likely that it will soon be proposed to add to the strength 
of the Commission ? I have been studying the Catalogue of 
Phillipps' Manuscripts. It is a most meagre affair, but gives 
hints of things preserved there which would be of extreme 
interest to me. You say it costs a pound a day to search. 
How many Manuscripts would they let me see for that 
amount, and is there any restriction about copying ? 

" I wish the Museum had the custody of the Manuscripts ; 
antiquarians and historians can ill afford the heavy outlay 
in fees and travelling expenses for a very uncertain result." 



From Rev. C. P. Meehan, Author of ''The Flight 
of the Earls'^' etc. 

"MoN BON Ami, 

Accept my grateful thanks for your goodness 
in mentioning me in the preface, which I will read con 
amove on to-morrow when Duffy leaves for London. 

" I hope you will not forget a portrait of Preston in 
Bellings, about which we shall have a talk next time I 
have the pleasure of meeting you. 

"Best respects to mademoiselle, and repeated assurance 
of my gratitude." 

From James Emerson Scott, the7i Editor of the 
Irish Thnesl' Dublin, 

" I am amazed at your industry ! Irish history, when it 
is really written, will owe to you a vast deal. In these angry 
times we cannot expect an audience, except among a very 
few, for anything calm and sensible, but I suppose the reaction 
to be not very far off." 

From Lord de Vesci. 

" Viceregal Lodge, Dublin, December 14. 
** I am very glad to see the true version of the dispute 
between de Vesci and Kildare. It is a satisfaction to have 
the aspersions on his courage cleared up. I fear, though, that 
there is somewhat of a hiatus in my pedigree, though there 
can be no doubt that I am descended from William de Vesci." 

On June 28, 1880, Rev. James M'Swiney, S.J., writes 
from Manresa House, Roehampton — 

"At the desire of Lord Bute I would beg you to be so 
good as to inform me of how much more remains of the 
* I^ibcr Hymnorum ' for publication ? Is there any immediate 



prospect of its continuance? If not, what is the obstacle? 
It is not impossible that his lordship would smooth down 
one obstacle (if it be the only one) to a resumption of the 
publication. What he has seen of it makes him wish for 

These years were a happy period in the life of the brother 
and sister at Villa Nova, who had recovered much of their 
bright spirits, yet were mindful of the shadows of the past, 
and of those who had parted from them under those shadows. 

" I dream of them at night," writes Mary Gilbert to Mac- 
Carthy, " and think all are now gone before me, except J. T. ; 
and I often say, * When will the others come, when shall we join 
those loved ones ? ' " She condoles with the poet on the recent 
loss of one of his children. " The New Year opens sadly for 
you under the cloud of a great grief. So many of the young 
and bright are carried away. The last was the beautiful 
Chrissie Dillon,^ such a lovely creature, in her nineteenth 
year. I said on Sunday to old Mrs. Madden, 'All the 
young and good are going out of the world, and only a few 
old people will be left ; ' and she said, * Yes, my dear, that 
they may grow more perfect.' " But in the same letter Mary 
gives pleasant news. " J. T. is full of life and the interest of 
his work, and he does work, and enjoy it so ! I am turning 
politician and reading the debates in Parhament, or Hstening 
to them when read by J. T. He had a pleasant day on 
Monday, when he escorted Lady Cowper through the Royal 
Irish Academy, and explained its treasures to her and the 
beautiful Lady de Vesci and Lady Leslie. He was driven 
with them afterwards to the Viceregal Lodge, to lunch with 
them and His Excellency. He says that Lady Cowper is 
very clever and intellectual. If any one talks of disturbance 
in Ireland, will you tell them everything is quiet here ? Lady 
Wilde thought we were all going about with revolvers ! " 

In another letter (March, 1880) she writes — 

"J. T. is as busy as a bee. His new book on the Irish 
War of 1641 has been a great success. He gets pleasing 

^ Only sister of Mr. John Dillon, M.P. 



letters from all quarters of the globe about it He was very 
much grieved at the loss of dear good Dr. Russell. There is 
an article in the Satttrday Review ^ on him ; not very flattering 
to the Irish priests in general." Again, "J. T. was greatly 
pleased to hear that you like his work on the * Aphorismical 
Discovery.* He gets great numbers of letters about it from 
people who are very enthusiastic on the subject. Did you see 
an article in the Edinburgh Review about Catholic rule in 
Ireland, in which his book is spoken of } " 
In March, 1881, she writes — 

"We have been busy here lately with distinguished 
visitors, French savants who have visited Dublin. M. 
D'Arbois de Joubainville, a great Celtic scholar, who holds 
a post from the French Government, has been here for five 
weeks, and M. Bertrand and his wife arrived on Friday last. 
M. Bertrand is curator of the Gallo-Roman Museum, and 
lives in the Palais de St. Germain in Paris. His wife is very 
pleasant, and speaks English pretty well. We are to meet 
them at Dr. Banks' to-day. They all dined with us on 
Sunday. J. T. thinks very highly of them, and it is pleasant 
to meet them. They go home this week, but M. D'Arbois 
de Joubainville will remain longer." 

In May of the same year she writes to Mr. John 

" Aubrey de Vere dined with us on Tuesday last. He is 
very agreeable. He seemed never to have heard of your 
father s beautiful ode on the Centenary of Calderon. I am 
writing to Lady Wilde to-day, but am too selfish to part with 
our copy, as it is the only one anywhere ! What a pity it is 
not made more generally known. Why do you not appear 
at some of Lady Wilde's Saturday receptions ? She says her 
rooms are always full of poets, painters, and * aesthetics,' and 

* Over the signature " A Catholic Layman," Judge O'Hagan published, in 
the Spectator o{ March 20, 1880, a long and able letter in answer to an article 
regarding Dr. Russell, which had appeared in the Satw-day Review of March 6. 
The Saturday Review^ while giving high praise to Dr. Russell, made, personally, 
insinuations as to his private sentiments, and his relations with the authorities of 
the Church, for which *' A Catholic Layman " showed there was not the slightest 



the Irish, who fall upon her neck and weep. I don't think 
it will be necessary for you to perform that operation. What 
about the Spanish works ? You ought to try to have them 
bought by the National Library here." Again, " We dined 
at Bray on Tuesday to meet Father Healy, who told some 
good stories. Some witty things were said. J. T. goes next 
week to London. A letter from the Marchioness of Ormonde 
this morning kindly insists on his staying at Park Lane all 
the time." 



Boswell's "Life of Johnson" — Charles O'Conor — Dr. S. R. Gardiner — 


The following letters, selected from a mass of correspondence 
of the years 1881 to 1885, faintly reflect the various works 
in which Gilbert was engaged, and suggest the hearty spirit 
of camaraderie existing between men working with enthu- 
siasm and persistence on historical and archaeological lines 
connected more or less with Ireland. 

From the Rev, Alexander Napier, 

" Holkham Vicarage, Wells, Norfolk, 

"October 20, 1881. 

" Some time ago Mr. Reid announced to me that you 
possessed and would communicate to me material (un- 
published) concerning Johnson's correspondence with Charles 
O'Conor. My labours of this very day bring me to the 
second letter in Boswell's ' Life of Johnson ' to O'Conor, and 
I am reminded of your kind and obliging attention. May I 
venture to beg you to forward me what you possess at the 
earliest opportunity ? It will be a great kindness and also 
a great help to this new edition of Boswell's work now 
passing through the press. I will stop the press till I hear 
from you. 

" Do you know anything of William Campbell ? Can 
you refer me to any source or sources of information re- 
garding him ? I possess a copy — rare indeed — of the journal 



he kept of his visits to Johnson in London ; but more should 
be said, and more be known of Campbell. Chancellor of 
St. Macartin's he is called. Does that dignity subsist at 
this day ? 

And now let me ask after the health and well-being of 
the Nuncio's Memoirs, which, by Lord Leicester's orders, I 
sent you. Not that you are to regard this as a hint that 
we are impatient to see the Nuncio again ; not so. I ask 
only whether the Memoirs proved valuable on further 
examination. I always suspected that Carte had made but 
a superficial use of them. I hope they are found to throw 
light on a very mysterious subject, the history of Ireland 
about the year 1640. Pray excuse the abruptness of my 
request, and lay it to the account of the exigencies of an 

From the Same, 

"April 13, 1883. 

" In your report (Historical Manuscripts Commission) you 
give the letters to and from Charles O'Conor up to 1769 ; 
but you hold out a hope that you will return to the O'Conor 
correspondence subsequently to 1769 at no very long interval. 
There is a certain letter from Johnson to O'Conor, May 19, 
1777 ; twenty years subsequent, therefore, to Johnson's earlier 
letter to O'Conor, April 9, 1757, which I much desire to 
know whether you have come on among the O'Conor papers. 
In it there is a passage to this effect, ' Dr. Leland begins the 
history too late ; the ages which deserve an exact inquiry 
are those times (for such there were) when Ireland was the 
school of the West, the quiet habitation of sanctity and 
literature' — an opinion which, from other sources, we know 
to have been Johnson's settled conviction. Well ! Croker 
must needs put in his ugly hand, and proposes to read, 
instead of the words I have above underlined, * if such there 
were! which even the context refutes. But if you could lay 
your hand on the letter among the O'Conor papers, it would 



be very agreeable to confute Croker in this manner. You 
will find the second letter of Johnson to O'Conor in Croker's 
edition of Boswell. I hope you will not consider this as 
involving too much trouble." 

From the Same. 

"July 6, 1883. 

" The box arrived this afternoon. I lost no time in 
unpacking it, and found the contents most carefully packed. 
I have already placed the volumes on the shelves, and have 
announced to Lord Leicester that the Nuncio's Memoirs 
have been returned, and that not a scratch is to be traced 
on any of the volumes, either inside or outside. You may 
count on my advocacy of any proposal for publication. How 
I wish you had been able to come here. A visit would have 
been potent for your special purpose." 

From the Same, 

"August 14, 1883. 

" It was a great disappointment and vexation not to see 
you at my vicarage. I could have shown you your sump- 
tuous folios in a very distinguished place in the library at 
Holkham. Well, let us hope that another year will be more 

"Now for Johnson and Charles O'Conor again! If we 
had met, in two minutes I would have been able to make my 
wants quite clear to you. 

"I have been all round the compass in search of these 
letters of Johnson. I have been referred to this collection 
and that collection, but always vainly, because my good 
friends would not observe what I wanted. In Boswell's 
* Life ' are two letters from Johnson to Charles O'Conor ; the 
first dated April 9, 1757, the second May 19, 1777 — as nearly 
as possible twenty years between them. I don't think that 



Boswell had the originals in his possession ; the originals 
belonged to Mr. Joseph Cooper Walker, of the * Treasury, 
Dublin.' This gentleman was a man of literary attainments, 
and died in 18 10. These letters, then, if in existence, will 
be found in the papers of that gentleman, if he left any. 
Hence I think the Probate Court of Dublin should first be 
searched to discover whether he died intestate. If he left 
a will, no doubt he bequeathed his papers, letters, etc., to 
some person or to some institution. Now, this is the point 
of departure. I wish this examined, and I will not turn 
aside to any vague source of information. Can you kindly 
help me here ? It would be a great help to me and a service 
done to literature, for according to the reading of a short 
parenthesis in the second letter of Johnson to O'Conor, * If 
such there were,' * For such there were,' a good deal depends. 
A minute's inspection of the second letter,^ May 19, 1777, 
would suffice to settle all doubts. I fear I am giving you 
some trouble, but you will bear with my over-anxiety to 
settle a point which has occasioned no little stir among 

From the Same, 

* August 26, 1884. 

"The noble volume has arrived. It is already in the 
place destined for it, i.e. on the shelf along with the other 
stately folios of the same work. As soon as Lord Leicester 
returns from the Highlands, the volume, with your letter, will 
be shown to him. 

"Your commendation of the 'Boswell' is very pleasing 
to me, as it ought to be, coming from one who knows what 
a good book is. The editing of that really great book has 
been a sincere pleasure to me. I wish it were all to be done 
over again ! " 

^ " Mr. J. T. Gilbert, who reported on the O'Conor papers for the Historical 
Manuscripts Commission, can give no account of it. He thinks that it may have 
been sent to Boswell." — Napier's " Boswell's Johnson," vol. ii., 1884, p. 569. 



From Richard Nugent, 

" 3, Coleshill Street, Eaton Square, London, 

"April 13, 1882. 

"1 am extremely obliged by your letter asking me if 
there were any matters of special interest which I would wish 
included in the notice of Christopher Lord Delvin in the 
forthcoming volume of the National Manuscripts of Ireland, 
which you are editing for the Government. 

"There are many matters of very great interest con- 
cerning Lord Delvin and his brother William which are most 
worthy of notice, and have never yet seen the light. I 
possess a very large collection of letters and papers con- 
cerning them, and which, I hope, some day, if my life is 
spared, to embody in my family history. There are two 
or three letters (one holograph, the other autograph) of his 
which are of very special interest, and the letter from Lady 
Delvin to Sir Robert Cecil, on her aged husband's imprison- 
ment in 1602, is a most touching one. If you wish, I will 
gladly give you copies of these, and give you some notes on 
incidents in his singularly chequered career. There is, in 
fact, hardly any career in Irish history more interesting and 
more chequered, or so little known. He was a very learned 
and accomplished man, educated in Cambridge, and entering 
on the duties of his rank when he came of age. He had 
many ups and downs; at one time in the highest favour, 
at another time arrested for high treason ; restored then to 
favour, and again arrested and imprisoned in the Tower. 
Once more released and loaded with grants and favours, 
he was for the third time arrested and imprisoned in his old 
age in Dublin Castle, where he died, leaving his widow, 
Lady Mary Fitzgerald, daughter of Gerald, eleventh Earl 
of Kildare, and many children, to mourn his loss. His 
eldest son Richard was imprisoned in Dublin Castle for 
complicity with the Tyrone conspiracy in 1607. Thence he 
escaped, and, after a while, threw himself at the feet of his 
sovereign ; was restored to favour and fortune, was created 



Earl of Westmeath, and was the most popular man in the 
country, being the advocate of all popular measures ; so that 
the Irish would at one time have taken him by force and 
made him king, whilst such is the changeability of the vox 
populi, that they murdered their idol in 1641 ! " 

From the Same. 

" With reference to your query, I cannot say that I have 
met any references to Lord Delvin's work on the Irish 
language presented to Queen Elizabeth. As a matter of fact, 
I know that what purports to be the original manuscript of 
this work is in the possession of Mr. Shirley of Lough Fea. 
I have not m.yself seen it, so cannot tell whether it is in 
Lord Delvin's hand or not." 

From the Same, 

"July 18, 1882. 

" In reference to Lord Delvin's expression in his letter of 
September, 1591, of his Mate unfortunate troubles,' I think 
there should be a preceding paragraph saying what these 
were, viz. his arrest, removal to England, and confinement 
in the Tower with Gerald, Earl of Kildare, for presumed 
complicity with the Baltinglass rebellion. Should you wish 
to have the exact particulars, I will most gladly supply them 
to you from my own transcripts and papers. 

" In the * Obits, marriages, etc., of some of the principal 
families in Ireland in the sixteenth and seventeenth cen- 
turies,' preserved in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, 
there are two entries concerning Lord Delvin. (i) ' Chris- 
topher Nugent, mil. Baron of Delvin, ob. in Castro Dub. 
ex abscessu.' This is specially interesting, as it explains 
some paragraphs in Lady Delvin's affecting letter on his 
imprisonment. (2) * Christopher Nugent, Baron of Delvin, 
ob. 5 Sept., 1602, prisoner in Dublin Castle.' 


" As you have so kindly made mention of my name, I 
should like to be more particularly identified as the head 
and representative of the Farren Connell, county of Cavan 
branch of the Nugent family. Except the present Earl of 
Westmeath's branch, I am, so far as I know, head of the 
senior branch of the family now existing. 

"Accept my cordial thanks for your exceedingly interest- 
ing memoir of Lord Delvin." 

From the Saine. 

"July 24, 1882. 

" Many thanks for your letter. I have much pleasure in 
sending you papers on Lord Delvin's imprisonment in 1580, 
first in Dublin Castle, and then his transmission to England 
as a prisoner. 

"By Order in Council, dated Greenwich, June 10, 1582, 
the Lieutenant of the Tower was directed to receive him 
with Lord Kildare into his custody, to place them apart in 
several lodgings where they may not have conference with 
each other, nor any with them, but such as their lordships 
shall appoint, and to remain close prisoners, each to have 
a servant to attend upon him. I have not discovered in 
the Council Register any order for their release, but 
there is a letter extant from Lord Delvin dated Greenwich, 
October 29, 1583, when, I presumed, he was discharged 
from the Tower but retained a prisoner on parole in Eng- 

"I have all the papers extant in this country about 
Robert Nugent, the Jesuit, but there are valuable papers 
about him in the Vatican, also interesting particulars in 
Lynch's * Cambrensis Eversus,' also in his ' Alithinologia 
et Supplementum,' and in O'Conor's ' Historical Address,' 
as to his dealings with Rinuccini, etc. I have also some 
most interesting papers on Chief Justice Nugent. Do you 
want them ? " 



From Rev. J . Graves, 


" The Association ^ has suffered much from the cause you 
mention, several members having withdrawn and a great 
number being in arrears with their subscriptions. There 
seems also a general paralysis of the workers. Dean Reeves 
is doing nothing, Hennessy is doing nothing. I know not 
of any matter relative to the Confederation and the war of 
1 64 1 which you are not better acquainted with, the papers 
at Kilkenny Castle, and the Carte Papers at Oxford. If the 
discovery of the books of the Confederates, which were in 
the possession of the Cromwellians, and which seem to have 
been in evidence much later, could be hoped for, it would 
be a great thing, but I fear they are irretrievably lost. What 
a strange thing the loss of the Distribution Books, i.e. the 
contemporary copies of those now partially preserved in the 
Public Record Office, was. My father made extracts from 
them, and I have the extracts. They were abstracted by 
some one between 1830 and 1848. When I first had access 
to the Ormonde muniments in 1849, they were gone. I have 
a strong suspicion they exist in the United States, if at all." 

From J, T, Gilbert to Edward Edwards. 

" Villa Nova, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, 

"January 12, 1881. 

"Many thanks for your kind note and extract. Some 
time since I had copies made of all the letters from and to 
Bellings which appeared in the Bodleian lists. It is, how- 
ever, not improbable that some may have been overlooked. 
There are also, no doubt, references to him in letters of other 
persons among the Carte Papers, which may turn up in 
calendaring. I have succeeded in getting together a good 
many particulars in connection with his career, of which very 

^ Kilkenny Archaeological Society. 



little has been hitherto known. I am engaged on an edition 
of the history of Ireland in his time, the manuscript of which, 
I think I mentioned to you, has been discovered by me. This 
I intend to illustrate with original documents on the same 
system as the * Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland, 
1 641-1642,' with which you are acquainted. I propose to 
make it as far as possible a history of the Irish Confedera- 
tion, of which little is accurately known at present. With 
this object in view, I have also had all the documents and 
letters in the Bodleian lists, written by, to, or in connection 
with the * Confederation,' copied. But here again it is pos- 
sible that some may have been overlooked." 

From Dr. S, R, Gardiner. 

"5, Magdalen Street, Oxford, 

"January 9, 1881. 

" I have been living in the Ireland of 164 1-2 during the 
last week, and a very unpleasant country it is to be in. 
Yesterday I read a letter of Conway's, calmly stating that 
Monro's Scots had marched into Antrim and found no 
enemy, but had killed about 40 men and 500 or 600 women 
and children, who were looking after the cows ! I don't 
think Prendergast got hold of anything so bad as that ! 

" I shall be going home to-morrow^. Can you tell me 
whether any light is thrown by Bellings' narrative on 
Ormond's connection with a scheme for an insurrection ? I 
find his name and Antrim's mentioned in that connection 
in a sworn examination of an Englishman who escaped from 
Cavan, as being in the mouths of the natives at the time of 
the rebellion, but the natives seem to have believed such 
incredible things that this is no evidence. 

" Will Bellings, or the beginning of him, be accessible 
soon ? I have nearly finished my English story, and should 
like to work up my Irish materials, whilst so much is fresh, 
but do not like to begin till I get sight of Bellings' story." 



From Rev, H. O, Coxe, Librarian, Bodleian 

" Oxford, January 19, 1881. 

" I have received your cheque, spite of the snow, in all 
safety {£^). Many thanks in the widow's name and my 
own. Yes, we have got together a very good sum of money 
(;^50o), to which the Royal Literary Fund have very gene- 
rously added ^120. I am so glad Her Majesty's Government 
has appointed the right man in the right place to succeed the 
dear old Maynooth president. It is not often that the very 
fittest man for a post is selected. Talking of which, is Parnell 
the best man for your first Protector ? " 

From Rev, Dr, Reeves, 

" The Library, Armagh, 

" February 26, 1881. 

"In 181 1 Brian Maguire, of Tempo, the duellist, printed 
a little volume of his memoirs with his family pedigree, but 
the work was suppressed. It was not, however, extinguished, 
for O'Donovan saw, and drew from a copy of it. Can you 
tell me of any copy which is accessible to an investigator, 
that is, myself? Did you ever see a copy of Piranesi's 
* Antiquities of Rome' {4 volumes, folio, 1756), with the 
engraver's Dedication to Viscount Charlemont? Further, is 
there a copy in Dublin of the very rare quarto he printed 
for private distribution (Roma, 1757) in reference to his 
quarrel with Milord, and the substitution of a new, instead 
of the intended. Dedication ? My parishioner, Sir James 
Stronge, has a copy of the * Antiquities ' with the uncancelled 
Dedication, and I suspect there are extremely few possessors 
of such in the three kingdoms. I am afraid the place we 
visited at Grange is not the true site of O'Neill's great 



From Hans C, Hamilton, 

" Public Record Office, London, 

"March 15, 1881. 
"On referring to Map, vol. i., No. 19, I find that the 
enigmatical name Lonytlouth is situated just where the town 
of Louth now stands. Of course, rivers meander, and our 
map has rectified or straightened its rivers ; but, then, we 
allow for that. 

" I see in ' A New Gazetteer of the British Isles,' by James 
A. Sharp, London, 1852, that Louth is a parish 7 miles 
S.S.W. Dundalk, on river Glyde ; was called Knockfergus 
and Cluain Laoin, and had St. Patrick's monastery founded 
for St. Moeten's, who died 19th August, 534. Seward says 
100 bishops and 300 presbyters were educated in this school. 
Now, Cluain is plain, or lawn. But whether Laoin has any- 
thing to do with the hymns (for Laoi means a hymn or poem) 
or sacred songs sung from age to age by the 100 bishops and 
300 presbyters who were educated at the school there I 
cannot say ; but this I can say, that the name is clear enough 
Lonytlouth, and that it means Louth. If Dr. O'Donovan 
were with us still, he would doubtless know. I do not know 
what the figures on the map refer to. The figures, especially 
the 3's, are peculiar. I have seen such 3's as dates endorsed 
on State Papers. I fancy they were written by one employed 
about Burghly as servant, that is gentleman, that is clerk. 
But I think I have seen some auditors' accounts with them. 
As for the name of Belfast, it is, no doubt, in the old form, 
and I may add also, although our map has a somewhat 
rectified boundary for its lough, still, in other like maps Belfast 
in its modern form occurs just in the spot v/here this does." 

From Richard O' Flynn, 

" Worcester, Mass., United States. 
" Will you send me three copies of the ' Contemporary 
History of Affairs in Ireland ' ? I would also like to own 
copies of the ' P'acsimilcs of the Ancient Irish Manuscripts,' 



just to show my Puritan friends that our land was equal to any 
other in the past. It is now thirty-one years since I left dear 
old Erin. I have not forgotten her, nor am I entirely ignorant 
of what is passing there. I receive the Dublin Nation regu- 
larly from Louisburgh, Co. Mayo. I came from Waterford 
county. I am somewhat acquainted with you, having copies 
of your * Viceroys/ * Streets of Dublin/ etc. This you may call 
a curious acquaintance, but somehow I feel a love for every 
man who labours to rescue the past history of our unhappy 
land. I felt angry and mortified when I saw the account 
of the work of transcription or revision of Irish manuscripts 
entrusted to a stranger to the land and language, as I under- 
stood it, some two years ago. I would like to get some old 
document fit for framing, if possible, as early as the Norman 
invasion of Ireland, with date plain, if possible written on one 
side, for which I should pay a fair price. I am aware you 
have unusual facilities, and may have duplicates. I had the 
pleasure of an introduction to Mr. Parnell in Boston, and was 
very favourably impressed with the man. He looks and acts 
an honest, sincere, cool, firm man. His reception in America 
is all he could possibly desire — overflowing houses, sympathy, 
and aid. If I can be of any service to you in obtaining any- 
thing in the book line, you may command my services, or, in 
fact, anything else you may need." 

From Rev. James Me Swiney, S.J, 

" Manresa House, Roehampton. 
" I have forwarded your book to the Marquis of Bute. 
Wishing you every success in your truly national undertaking, 
I will just add that Lord Bute is working at the 'Scottish 
Saints' with a will, has printed the 'Altus' of St. Colum- 
Cille, and talks of publishing the * Codex Salmanticensis.' 
A German savant is bringing out a vocabulary of all the 
words, Gaelic, etc., occurring in EbeFs edition of Zeuss's 
*Grammatica Celtica.' Wishing you ' proleptically,' as those 
German fellows have it, the blessings of the approaching 



holy season, i£, if you are not spirited away by a lettre de 
cachet. " 

From Rev, C. E, Tisdall, D,D. 

" 22, Herbert Place, Dublin, 

" November 24, 1881. 

"Dear John Gilbert, 

" Will you kindly send me whatever information 
you have as regards the visit of Henry V. to this land of 
ours ? I am anxious to have as much as can be obtained, 
as I wish to write a short introduction to my readings from 
the play of that name by one William Shakspeare. I hope 
that your sister is better. Kindly tell her I inquired for her. 

" Ever sincerely yours, 

•'C. E. TiSDALL." 

From Dr. S. Gardiner, 

"Bromley, Kent, November 29, 1881. 
" How very kind you are ! The book will be of the 
utmost value to me in my next volume. The present ones 
drop Irish history about April, 1642. I am not writing 
Irish history but English, and therefore must cut short a 
good deal that would be of interest to you, and must be 
lucky if I escape gross blunders. If you find any, I shall 
be much pleased if you will take the trouble to point them 
out. As I have not got to Owen Roe O'Neill, I have not 
yet got into the thick of the * Aphorismical Discovery,' but 
you will find one or two references to it. In the next 
volumes I hope to use both your books, and the preface to 
volume iii. will be the proper place to speak of them. I 
have already written a note to the Academy^ and hope it 
may reach the office in time for this week's issue." 

From Richard CaiUfield, LL,D, 

"Cork, December, 1881. 
"I found out a great deal from time to time about the 
Algerine invasions on our coast, particularly about Lemcon. 



I have no doubt the gentry, and in particular Sir WiUiam 
Hall, were in league with them, and helped to plunder many 
a ship on the coast at the time. I printed an account of the 
Sack of Baltimore, the most important of all the raids of 
the pirates on the southern shore ; you will find it in the 
Kinsale book, * Annals,' p. xxxiii. I found the original account, 
as sent from Baltimore at the time, in the Public Record 
Office, London. It completely does away with the beau- 
tiful account given by Davis in his * Sack of Baltimore,' 
* O'Driscoll's Daughter,' and so forth. I fully agree with you 
in your account of the Depositions, 1641, in Trinity College, 
Dublin (8th Report, Public Records). I would be glad to 
have the Cork part, and would probably print it in a forth- 
coming work." 

From Sir Bernard Burke. 

"Dublin Castle, December 31, 1881. 
"The Princess Louise, who is interesting herself about 
the approaching Berlin Heraldic Exhibition, asks me as to 
Ireland. What do you think } Putting aside R.I.A., Trinity 
College, Ulster's Office, etc., which could not part with any 
of their treasures, do you know of any private sources from 
which Her Royal Highness might draw for contributions ? 
You are so conversant with the collections throughout Ire- 
land, that I am sure you can assist us. Your first volume 
reached me some time since, and delighted me. Whatever 
you do you do admirably." 

From Lord Talbot de Malahide, 

" I am trying to get at the history of Miles Corbet. Can 
you tell me whether there is any book which gives the 
biography and antecedents of the Regicides } There is 
another subject which interests me — I am anxious to know 
about the introduction of saffiron into Ireland. Can you 
refer me to any book on the subject ? Saffiron cakes are 



an old institution in Dublin, so I suppose it was cultivated 
there at some time. The climate would suit it I suppose 
the dresses of the gallow-glasses were dyed with saffron. 
I never heard of saffron cakes in England. Can you tell me 
where they are to be found ? Saffron Waldon in this county, 
I suppose, was named from it. I remember, myself, when 
at the University of Cambridge, seeing a field of saffron at 
Cottenham, in that county, in full blossom." 

From Rev, J, Graves, 

"Inisnag Glebe, Stoneyford, February lo, 1882. 
" It is a great pity that the * White Book of Ossory,' from 
which were copied several items, seems to have been lost 
about 1730 or 1740. Query: Are these transcripts from it 
in Marsh's Library ? " 

From William C, Borlase, M.P. 

"House of Commons, London, March 31, 1882. 

"You must not think I have been unmindful of your 
desire to gain information of Sir J. Borlase. I have a good 
many references to him in papers which I have collected and 
which are now in London, whither I have had them for- 
warded, and they are open to your inspection at any time. 
As he is a collateral ancestor of mine, I am as anxious as 
you can be that a full and accurate account of him should 
be given. I have his will, and his place in the family 
pedigree I have ascertained with certainty. Of course, he 
must not be confused with Sir J. Borlase, junior, whose place 
in the pedigree I can also show you. You know the mention 
of him in the Record Office publications, in Borlase's * Ire- 
land' (both works), in Bankes's * History of Corfe Castle/ 
and in the Historical Manuscripts Commission. There is 
a picture of him at Winchester, if I remember right, as a 
boy, where he must have been a gentleman commoner ; it 
is in the second master's dining-room. There is another (a 



Vandyck) at Kingston Lacy (Mrs. Bankes's), and, I fancy, 
Lord Portsmouth, who is a descendant of his, has a third. 
In the Historical Manuscripts volumes there is a curious 
account of his widow's effects being seized in France on her 
death, as an alien in that country. Mrs. Bankes's picture 
was photographed for me, and I will send you one when I 
get home to Cornwall next Wednesday. I am collecting 
materials for the history of my family, which is a very 
ancient and curious one, and any help which you can give 
me I shall thankfully receive. Similarly, you shall have 
full access to such papers as I have. I bought your most 
interesting * Aphorismical Discovery ' because it contained 
notices of him. Who was Sir Edward Borlase, a witness at 
Maguire's trial } He had, I think, a brother called Edward, 
and his great-great-grandfather was so called. It was a 
name in the family." 

From y, T. Gilbert to Edward Edwards, 

" Villa Nova, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, 

"August 18, 1882. 

" Many thanks for your kind note and memoranda. You 
will further oblige me by letting Mr. Parker have the references 
to the paper of Ignatius White, in which R. Bellings is spoken 
of in connection with the account of T. Scot, the regicide. 
I am sorry to hear that you have had trouble as to the final 
letter of Belling^ name." 

From Edward Edwards, 

" Seaview, Niton, Isle of Wight, 

"September 13, 1882. 

" But for the fact that I have had a very unusually long 
spell of work, unbroken by any real holiday, at Bodley 
(namely, from October, 1881, until September, 1882), I 
should not have left Oxford for my much-needed vacation 
without having first copied out for you — and with real 



pleasure to be of some slight subservience to your admirable 
labours for Irish history — the extracts I mentioned in a 
former letter from that place concerning Richard Bellings. 
Since I wrote I have met with two others ; all are of small 
moment, but, cumulatively, may have some slight value. 

" Mr. George Parker offered to copy them, but I was 
reluctant to part with the pleasure of having my interest in 
your labours, in however humble a way. 

" I assume that you are interested in both the * Richard 
Bellings ' — he of the Confederacy, and his son of the Diplo- 
matic missions on the Continent under Charles II." 

About this time Gilbert made an effort to secure for 
Dublin a valuable treasure of manuscripts connected with 
Ireland, by the purchase of a portion of the important collec- 
tion of Lord Ashburnham, and wrote to the authorities as 
follows : — 

From y. T. Gilbert. 

" Villa Nova, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, 

" February 24, 1883. 

" May I ask you to be good enough to bring under His 
Excellency's notice a statement which appears in the London 
AthencBum of this day that hopes are entertained that the 
Treasury will sanction the purchase of Lord Ashburnham's 
collection of manuscripts for the British Museum. 

" His Excellency is no doubt aware that a portion of this 
collection is specially connected with Ireland, and might, 
with much advantage to Ireland, be placed in Dublin, the 
remainder going to the British Museum. 

" Perhaps His Excellency may think well of taking this 
matter into his consideration, as it is one in which the 
educated public would be much interested. I take the liberty 
of adding that from my present acquaintance with the heads 
of the British Museum Department of Manuscripts, I should 
not anticipate any obstacles from them in relation to the 



special Irish portions of the collection. I shall be happy to 
afford any further information on the subject that may be 

As a result of this application (the Ashburnham Manu- 
scripts having been purchased by Government), the Irish 
Manuscripts of the collection were deposited in the Royal 
Irish Academy, Dublin. 

From Rev, J, Graves, 

" Stoneyford, June 27, 1883. 
" I do wish, with you, that J. P. Prendergast would not 
rest on his oars. I know he contemplated a history of the 
Act of Settlement, and of that period, and has ample ma- 
terials for it. Dean Reeves, I fear much, will not give us the 
*Book of Armagh,* but why not who can say? Truly, as 
you say, there is some fatality over anything that relates to 
the printing of Irish historical matter. The opportunities 
and means are not wanting ; it seems to rest with the workers 
themselves. I cannot understand W. H. Hennessy holding 
back the ^ Bruden.' It seems inexplicable. He says he has 
it all ready, and that five weeks would see it done, but why 
it is not done is the mystery." 

Froin Dr. Mac Co II. 

''^ Athenceum Office, London, August, 1883. 
" The two handsome volumes you so kindly sent I found 
on the table when I came in from the country this morning. 
I shall read them with much interest. It must have cost you 
a small fortune to bring them out in such handsome style. 
I can give you a column and half for the review of the 
• Analecta.' Could you kindly let me have the review of 
the book I sent you, ' Ireland in the 17th Century,' by Miss 
Hickson ? " 




From Sir Horace Rumbold. 

" British Legation, Stockholm, 

"August 17, 1883. 

"Dear Sir, 

" I take the liberty of addressing you on the 
subject of a letter from Henry Rumbold to Lord Arlington, 
date of February, 1683. You were good enough to promise 
Mr. Kingston that you would endeavour to procure a tran- 
script of the document for me, and I venture to remind you 
of the kind offer on your part. I am reconstructing the 
history of this Henry Rumbold and his belongings, in whom 
I have a family interest. I have seen a great many letters 
of his, but none of so late a date as 1683, ^-^^ am very desirous 
to know the contents of this one, in the hope that it may 
throw some light on the late history of the man. 
" Dear sir, 

" Yours faithfully, 

"Horace Rumbold, 
" H.M. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister 
Plenipotentiary to the King of Sweden." 

Having much at heart the publication of the 'Register 
of the Abbey of St. Thomas, Dublin,' to follow as companion 
to that of the ' Chartularies of St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin,' 
already issued by Government in the series described as 
'Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland' 
(Master of the Rolls' Series), Gilbert addressed the following 
letter to John Cashel Hoey on the subject : — 

From J, T, Gilbert: to John Cashel Hoey, 

"December 3, 1883. 
" I should be glad to know if you are likely soon to have 
an opportunity of communicating with the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer or his representative as to a matter in which I 



think you would be interested. It is in reference to the con- 
tinuance of the small grant of £\6o, annually, included hitherto 
in the Estimates for the publication of manuscripts connected 
with Ireland. The ' National Manuscripts ' being now just 
finished, the Master of the Rolls in Ireland has recommended 
in succession to them, the publication, under my editorship, 
of some unique manuscripts of great interest. His Honour 
has, however, received an official intimation that the grant of 
£\6o, will only be given to clear off the arrears for the work 
already done. This appears strange, more especially as ten 
times the amount is regularly allotted every year for Scotch 
publications of analogous character. On looking at the 
Estimates, you will see that every year there is a grant of 
£6qo^ for the Historical Department at Edinburgh, and 
;^iooo, for editing documents relating to Scotland. The votes 
have been taken without opposition for many years past for 
these amounts. These matters will lead to discussion in 
Parliament, and probably the Chancellor of the Exchequer 
has no information whatever on the subject. Perhaps you 
may see your way to making some communication to Mr. 
Childers. There is still sufificient time to have the proposed 
publication approved of, and provision made for it in the 
Estimates now being revised by the Treasury." 

From y. T, Gilbert to Leopold Gtiibara. 

"Villa Nova, Blackrock, November 17, 1883. 
" Do you happen to know any one who is acquainted 
with the heads of the Cistercian Order in England ? If so, 
I should be very much obliged by a few lines of introduction 
in connection with an inquiry which I am anxious to make 
concerning some old manuscripts relating to the Order. I 
am printing documents of the Cistercians in Ireland in early 
times. At present the Order has no Irish house, and I have 
reason to believe that some such manuscripts as I am in quest 
of may be found in their houses in England." 



From Rev. Reginald Walsh, O.P, 

" St. Mary's, Tallaght, February 26. 
'*It may be important to know that we have here the 
flag of the Confederation carried in procession before Rinuc- 
cini. It was preserved in the Black Abbey, Kilkenny, till 
a few years ago, when it was sent to Tallaght. It is of green 
silk, and bears a painting of the Queen of the Rosary. If 
at any time you wish to see it, or to have it photographed 
we shall be most happy. It is of national interest." 

From Dr, S, R, Gardiner, 

" South View, Widmore Road, Bromley, Kent, 

" November 9, 1884. 

"I have been working with your 'History of the Con- 
federation,' and have got my sketch finished up to the 
Cessation. Are there any more volumes coming ? 

"A point on which I want help perhaps you may give 
me some assistance on. I can make out, from the Treaty 
of Cessation, the lands respectively held by the two parties 
in Leinster and Munster, but not in Connaught and Ulster. 
Is there any way of making these out ? 

*'The connection between the Irish history of 1643 and 
the English is very close, and ought to be brought out in 
any story of the English Civil War." 

From y. T, Gilbert to Rev, Dr. Reeves, 

"Villa Nova, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, April 12, 1884. 

"My dear Reeves, 

" I have examined the Haliday and the Academy's 
collection of pamphlets, but as they do not contain any copy 
of either the * Life of Skelton ' or the ' Vindication,' I quite 
agree with you in deploring the neglect of such matters in 
the Library in Dublin. Since Government appointed me 
one of its trustees for the National Library (formerly Royal 



Dublin Society), I have succeeded in having some valuable 
additions made there in the historical line, especially of 
high-priced books. If there are any important works not 
already there, which you think ought to be procured, I 
would be very glad to have a note of them with a view to 
having them obtained. 

" I suppose the reprint of the * Life of Skelton ' is the one 
prefixed to the edition of his * Discourses/ printed at London 
in 1824; but in it there is no reference to the 'Vindication.' 
A unique collection of broadsides, tracts, and pamphlets 
printed at Dublin in folio, 4to, 8vo, and i2mo, from 1650 to 
1798, extending to above one hundred volumes, was lately 
offered to Trinity College for £6^. The collection was begun 
by old Dr. Worth in the seventeenth century, and continued 
by his collateral descendants, the Newenhams. Our friends 
in T.C.D. did not seem to appreciate the collection, and 
declined it. I heard of the matter by accident, and, having 
looked over the collection, purchased it at once for my 
own library, and so kept it in Ireland. It contains some 
very great varieties, including Cromwellian papers which 
Prendergast never saw before.^ 

" I should be greatly obliged for any particulars in relation 
to the Church of St. Ultan in Cuillifan, referred to in the 
Mary's Abbey printed volume at pp. 39, 41, 149, 153, 161. 
It does not appear under the above name in the ordinary 

"Yours very sincerely, 

"John T. Gilbert." 

From Dr. S. R. Gardiner, 

" South View, Widmore Road, Bromley, Kent, 

"May 12, 1884. 

"My dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" I shall be very glad to hear anything you can 
tell me about the Plunket Manuscript. 

" I had been thinking of writing to you to ask you if you 

^ Now in possession of the Corporation of Dublin. 



knew of a batch of Ormond papers in the Forster Collection 
of the South Kensington Museum. They were known to 
me some years ago, but as they related to the reign of 
Queen Anne, I did not take any interest in them, and cannot 
remember whether they were originals or copies. 
" Believe me, 

" Yours sincerely, 

"Samuel R. Gardiner." 

On the flyleaf of this letter a note is found in Gilbert's 
handwriting : " If the Plunket Manuscript is the volume which 
is noticed in the second Report of the Historical Manuscripts 
Commission, 1871, pp. 227-231 — if so, it is imperfect, and 
the greater part of it composed of matter not worth printing ; 
such as extracts from printed * History of Ireland,' by Cox, 
Nelson's Collection, and Sir Roger L'Estrange's publication. 

** The earlier part of the manuscript has been lost, and 
what remains was compiled long after the events to which it 
refers. Carte fell into some curious errors in relation to this 
manuscript. See also * Contemporary History of Affairs in 
Ireland,' 1641-1652 (1880), vol iii., preface, p. 21, note." 

From R. D, Lyons, M.D., M,P, 

" 8, Merrion Square, West, Dublin. 

"My dear Gilbert, 

"Was there anything in the Grants of Henry II. 
and his successors, to the Norman Lords, to define the terms 
and conditions of those who were to hold under them as 
tenants ? In the Grants of the Seignories under Elizabeth, 
and in the Plantations of James there were conditions as to 
number and nature of the holdings. 

" Could you put your hands on any extracts that would 
show these limitations and protections in a clear way? I 
have it in my head, and want to show it in the House, that 
the Grantees were never given the lands absolutely and 
unconditionally to do what they liked with, as is now alleged. 


" Have you any idea of the true origin of the Tenant 
Right of Ulster ? 

" Ever yours, 

"R. D. Lyons." 

From Rev, Dr. Reeves. 

"The Library, Armagh, August ig, 1884. 
"Part 2 of volume iv. has come safely to hand, put up 
between two boards, so as to preserve the integrity of the 
grand volume as perfectly as the repose of a well-grouted 
shelf. For this, as for its predecessor, I am bound to thank 
and bless you. These five tomes, with the three of Scotland 
which were sent me, form a grand file on my grenadier shelf. 
I wish you could get leave to bring out a volume of* Hibernia 
Peregrina,' and give us all the Continental specimens, which 
are quite numerous enough to fill a goodly fasciculus. I 
hear poor Sweetman of the Calendar is no more. He had 
a volume on the stocks which he was about to commence 
when he was here a couple of years ago. Poor little fellow, 
I am sorry for him. I hope there will be some one to step 
into his place and keep up the series. Are you likely to 
have anything for the Association of Librarians at the end 
of September ? " 

From Hans C. Hamilton, 

"East End, Finchley, London, August 25, 1884. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" I congratulate you heartily on the completion 
of your magnificent work, * The Facsimiles of the National 
Manuscripts of Ireland,' and I thank you sincerely for placing 
my name amongst your select friends at page 356. It is 
gratifying to me to be named in such an artistic and valuable 
publication. I sincerely hope that before long the present 
volume of my Irish Calendar will be published. My brother 



sends you his most kind remembrances. I was very sorry 
to hear of Sweetman's death. 

" I am always, 

" Yours most truly, 

"Hans C. Hamilton." 

From Rev. Dr, Reeves, 

"August, 1884. 

" I have got a copy of your * Chartularies,* vol. i., from 
Hodges & Co., and have devoted this day to its perusal. 
It's the richest collection of such documents yet printed, far 
and away. And the text seems accurately rendered. The 
book is a vast mine of treasure, and it is as yet our only 
Chartulary worth the name. I hope you will get on speedily 
with your second volume, and that you will give us some 
account of the Abbey to the Dissolution, and finally a 
rattling fine 'Index Hominum et Locorum.' The 'Index 
Hominum' will be of great importance in fixing the dates 
of witnesses." 

Fro7n Rev, A, Napier. 

" I have this day despatched to you the ' Life of O'Conor,' 
registered. I could not have settled the matter of the false 
reading introduced by Dr. Campbell without the aid of this 
curious and rare volume." 

From J , Cashel Hoey, 

"I am very glad to learn that the Ashburnham Manu- 
scripts are in your charge." 

From Henry Bradshaw. 

" King's College, Cambridge. 
" Your kind letter has done me good. You are the only 
man I know sufficiently interested in the matter [Irish civil 
wars' period] to give me any trustworthy information." 


From Dr. R. Gardiner, 

Bromley, Kent. 

" Your reference to the Report enables me to make 
inquiries of Miss Hickson. I have simply referred to 
General Dunne's letter in the Report. I cannot lay my hands 
on his original letter, but I am almost certain that the 
manuscript is the property of an Irish peer, and therefore a 
different one from General Plunket Dunne's. I will have the 
whole question gone into, and let you know the result. It is 
very kind of you to have written on the subject." 

From E. Maunde Thompson, 

" British Museum, London. 
" I congratulate you on bringing a fine work so success- 
fully to a close. The reprint of the Introduction is most 
handy. I often find that I want to refer to them, and handling 
big books for references is a great trouble. I hope, however, 
that this is not the end of your work in this line. A deal 
has yet to be done for the history of early Irish writing." 

From the Marquess of Ormonde, 

The Castle, Kilkenny. 
" Will you come down here on Friday week and stay till 
Monday t I purpose making some improvements in the 
Muniment Room here, and I should be much obliged if you 
would give me your valuable advice in the matter." 

From T. D, Sullivan, 

Nation Office, Dublin, September 9, 1884. 
" In the Nation of last Saturday we had a review of your 
* Account ' of the National Manuscripts of Ireland. I hope 
you will be pleased with it, and heartily congratulate you on 
the completion of your great work, which will be an everlasting 
monument to your learning and your patriotism. Ireland may 
be congratulated that the work was placed in such competent 



and sympathetic hands. I hope that further occupation of 
the same nature may be found for them. I shall certainly 
call at the Academy to have a look at the new volumes. 
How I wish I could spend much time there ! I have always 
regarded the library of the Royal Irish Academy as one of 
the most delightful places in Dublin." 

From Dr, S, R. Gardiner, 

" Bromley, Kent, November i6, 1884. 
Thank you for the reference to the Preface on the ques- 
tion of ports held. 

" I am very glad to hear that there is another volume of 
the ' Confederation ' coming. Is anything to be done with 
the Rinuccini Manuscripts } I suppose the value of that does 
not begin till 1645, which is a date far ahead of me as yet. 

" I think I have heard you say that the mistakes in Irish 
names in the Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts were very 
great, and I suppose Sweetman was not very accurate in such 

The Rev. J. Graves writes of the portrait of Owen Roe 
O'Neill in the Ulster Journal — 

" It bears all the evidence of being a fancy portrait. Did 
you see the painting, or do you know where it is now t I am 
sorry you could not have engraved the portraits of the Earl 
of Clanrickarde and of Sir Roger O'Shaughnessy of that 
period, which are at Kilkenny Castle. Sir Roger, with his 
red beard and fine head, is a noble portrait." 

From His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, 

"Viceregal Lodge, Dublin, July 16, 1885. 

''Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" Let me thank you for the volume which you 
have been good enough to send me. In turning over the 
pages since its arrival, for I have not had time, of course, to 


do more, I can see how interesting a collection of National 
Manuscripts it is. If Ireland leaves me any leisure, I shall 
hope to become better acquainted with its contents, and if 
not, I shall look forward to reading it in private life. 

" Believe me; yours faithfully, 

" Carnarvon." 

In the latter end of the year 1884 the Secretary of the 
Public Record Office, London, wrote — 

" I fear there is not the slightest prospect, owing to the 
exhaustion of funds, of the Commissioners authorizing any 
further work being undertaken in Ireland this year. I have 
duly received your reports on manuscripts of Waterford, 
Jesuits, See of Dublin (Archbishop Trench), and Earl of 

" I duly received your reports on the Ossory and Galway 
manuscripts, and they have been sent to the printers." 

So attractive were the volumes of the " Facsimiles of the 
National Manuscripts " that an effort was made to induce 
Government to issue a second edition of even the first part. 
In May, 1884, however, Mr. H. G. Reid, in an official letter to 
Gilbert, wrote as follows : — 

" Mr. Pigott desires me to say that he could not under- 
take to publish a fresh edition of any of these books without 
positive orders from the Treasury to do so ; nor does he 
think that their lordships would be, just now, disposed to 
entertain any proposal of the kind." 



Death of D. F. MacCarthy — Munster Bank Losses — Death of Mary 
Gilbert — Chartularies of St. Mary's Abbey and Abbey of St. Thomas, 
Dublin — Governor of National Gallery, Ireland — " Dictionary of 
National Biography" — Dublin Corporation Records — Proposed 
Translation of Irish Texts — Letters. 

In 1882 the sunshine of Villa Nova was again overshadowed 
by the death of Denis Florence MacCarthy, whose last letter 
to Mary Gilbert betrays the failing condition of his health in 
the tremulous handwriting. He writes from London asking 
his friends to find him a house as near as possible to his 
daughter's convent, and to Villa Nova. The house was 
found, and the poet came home, after many exiles in foreign 
lands, to die in his native country among those whom he 
loved and who loved him best. His loss was keenly and 
deeply felt by John and Mary Gilbert, for whom life was 
now marked by so many gravestones. 

The health of Gilbert's only remaining and beloved sister 
now began visibly to decline. A trip to Rome was proposed, 
but her strength was unequal to the efifort. Father T. L. 
Carey, of St. Isidore's College, Rome, wrote to her brother 
in May, 1885— 

" My friend Mr. Bliss has just told me that some days 
ago he sent to the Record Office, London, copies of some 
interesting letters of O'Neill and O'Donnell. I believe they 
are kept in the reserved part of the Record Office, but I have 
no diOvkA you will be able to get the use of them. I thought 
you would like to have the information. I hope you are 




quite strong, also Miss Gilbert. Could you not manage to 
take a run to Rome some time while I am here ? I need 
not tell you how glad I should be to have you in Rome, even 
for a short time." 

To which Gilbert replied — 

" I hope I shall be able to see the papers mentioned, 
being much interested in the subject. Pray give my best 
regards to Mr. Bliss when you see him. I had hoped to 
have gone to Italy this year, but the continued ill-health of 
my only sister keeps me at home. She suffers from great 
weakness, for which the doctors appear unable to find any 
remedy, except time and rest. 

" The third volume of the ^ History of the Irish Con- 
federation' will soon be out of the printer's hands. It 
extends from September, 1643, to October, 1644, and con- 
tains a large body of interesting matter relative to the Irish 
Catholics, hitherto unpublished. The fourth volume, which 
is in preparation, will be from November, 1644, to the arrival 
of Rinuccini in Ireland, in November, 1645. 

" I have been endeavouring to find some details of the 
trial and execution of Francis Matthew, Franciscan, at Cork, 
in 1644. He is mentioned in the * Aphorismical Discovery,' 
vol. i., p. 190; also in Wadding's * Scriptores ' (1806) p. 83, 
where he is stated to have been twice tortured. Waddine 
says he wrote an account of the Irish Franciscans, then in 
his (Wadding's) possession. Perhaps you may know some 
particulars as to the circumstances of his death. Some 
Protestant writers say that Matthew admitted that he 
deserved to be executed for having plotted to have Cork 
handed over to the Irish Confederates ! 

" If the Public Library at Rome, which you mentioned 
some time since, desires to have the publications of the 
Royal Irish Academy, the heads of the Library should write 
an official letter of application addressed to the Secretary of 
the Royal Irish Academy, stating the grounds on which they 
make their request. You are, no doubt, aware that the Trans- 
actions oi the Academy are chiefly mathematical and scientific. 



Four institutions in Rome at present receive the publications 
of the Royal Irish Academy." 

Lady Wilde writes to Mary Gilbert at this time, " What 
do you mean by getting ill, you who were always so radiant 
with life and spirits, and in your lovely little Eden ? " The 
illness was, however, no passing ailment. Together with the 
calamity of her serious breakdown in health came another 
ruinous stroke of fortune to her brother. 

In 1885 the public mind was startled by the unexpected 
failure of the Munster Bank, which stopped payment owing 
to the defalcations of an absconding official. Having 
weathered a former storm of contrary circumstances Gilbert 
had righted his affairs, and, owing to his ability and in- 
domitable energy, had attained a position, not only of 
personal honour and distinction, but of comparative financial 
security. A very short time before its failure he had invested 
to a considerable extent in shares in the Munster Bank. 
Speaking later of the disaster which now fell on him without 
a moment's warning, he said to a friend, " Is it not a strange 
experience for a man who awakes in the morning, believing 
himself secure in the possession of a fair share of the needful 
goods of this world, to go down to breakfast and read his 
ruin in the newspaper ? " 

Macaulay says, " Every day shows me more and more 
how necessary a competence is to a man who desires to be 
either great or useful." At no time did Gilbert love money. 
Early in life he had been possessed of such a competence, 
and had been generous in the use of it, as giving him power to 
assist intellectual effort in his country ; and he had sacrificed 
more than that competence in order to free himself for the 
doing of great and useful work. The ruin imposed on him 
by the failure of the bank seemed to sweep away all possi- 
bility of the continued development of projects which he had 
deeply at heart. His sister, guarded by his care from all 
knowledge of the disaster, died in January, 1886, unaware 
that a fresh misfortune had overtaken the brother who had 
been the idol of her life ; and Gilbert stood alone in his 



ruined home, those whom he had so faithfully cherished, 
and who had so loved him, gone, and the sacred home itself 
apparently no longer to be his. 

Call after call from the liquidators of the bank was 
answered by him, until he had handed over almost all his 
property, and there was question of disposing of his house, 
furniture, and library. There remains of this period, drawn 
up in his handwriting for the liquidators, a list of everything 
of which he was possessed. Upon Mary's death, however, the 
policy of insurance on Gilbert's life, which he had held as a 
provision for his sister in case she survived him, was accepted 
in final settlement of his affairs with the bank, and his now 
desolate home remained to him. Happily, he had many 
friends and sympathizers ; and his English cousins, Mrs. 
George Gilbert and her daughters, who had been during 
many years frequent visitors at Villa Nova, came to him at 
this crisis, and helped him through many a grievous hour. 
His health suffered somewhat for a few months, but his 
unconquerable courage proved itself once more, and he took 
up his many works again with all his old vigour and 

He now made another attempt to induce the authorities 
to follow up the publication of the Chartularies of Saint 
Mary's Abbey, published by Government in the Master of 
the Rolls' Series, "Chronicles and Memorials of Great 
Britain and Ireland," with the Chartulary of the Abbey 
of Saint Thomas in Dublin, but in this he was again dis- 
appointed. The Deputy-Keeper of the London Record Office 
wrote to him in May, 1887 — 

I fear that nothing can be done at present with regard 
to the proposed publication of the Chartulary of the Abbey 
of Saint Thomas of Canterbury at Dublin. The Treasury 
has made so material a reduction in our vote for historical 
publications that we can barely pay for works already 
sanctioned and set in hand. I cannot advise you to proceed 
with the preparation of your proposed work, unless you see 
your way to its publication in some other series, or separately." 



The goodwill manifested to the Irish archivist by the 
heads of noble houses, who continued to make him welcome 
to pursue his researches in their muniment rooms, is illus- 
trated by the following letters : — 

From the Earl of FingalL 

" Killeen Castle, August 7, 1887. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" I have to thank you very much for your trouble 
in connection with my manuscript, and the most interesting 
account of it in your work. I have another old manuscript 
entitled * A Chartulary of Reading Abbey,' which I should be 
glad that you should have a look at. Perhaps you would like 
to come down here yourself to take a look through anything 
there may be in the house. It would afford Lady Fingall and 
myself very much pleasure if you would do so for a few days, 
and any time that suited you would suit us. 

Believe me, yours truly, 

« Fingall." 

From Lord Castletown of Upper Ossory, 

"Granston Manor, Abbeyleix, April 8, 1887. 

" Dear Sir, 

" I have received through Lord Arthur Butler the 
Preface to Part IV. of the National Manuscripts, for which I 
beg to thank you very much. You suggest in your letter to 
Lord A. Butler that I should have any papers we may have 
catalogued and described. I am afraid we have too few to 
make the first process necessary, but I have been looking at 
the original letters from Edward VI. to Sir B. FitzPatrick, 
and they are in good preservation, and well worth being de- 
scribed. There are, I think, seven of them. Should you care 
to have them described, I should be very glad to give per- 
mission. I may come across other old documents, but hardly 
think so. With many thanks for your present, 
" Believe me, yours truly, 

" CA5TLPTQWN OF Upper Ossory." 



The following letter is concerned with a comparatively- 
late movement regarding the O'Donovan Fund : — 

Fro7n the Right Rev, Charles Graves, D,D, 

" The Palace, Henry Street, Limerick, 

"February 15, 1887. 

"I feel quite grieved and ashamed that I committed a 
serious fault in not writing to you in the first instance about 
the administration of the O'Donovan Fund. I could not but 
feel sure that you would have taken a leading part in any 
movement intended to acknowledge the merits, both personal 
and literary, of John O'Donovan. He was one of the most 
conscientious, as well as the most laborious, of all the men 
who have devoted themselves to the study of Irish archaeology 
in our time. You must have known and felt all this. But 
I did not remember what you had said and done, and what 
office you had undertaken when his friends met to consider 
the question of a memorial. 

" Mr. Maxwell Close will tell you what I propose to have 
done as regards the O'Donovan Fund, and I am sure you 
will give him the benefit of your advice and assistance. I 
am inclined to think that we might leave to him the trans- 
action of the business part of the affair. In going over my 
books and papers lately, I found that there were two or three 
matters in which you could help me. You printed a supple- 
mentary sheet or pamphlet containing additions to your 
' History of Dublin.' I regret to say it has been lost. 

" Lastly, can you tell me who was the author of an article 
in that review on the Brehon Laws Commission } He must 
have been a member of the R.T. A., and very well acquainted 
with the subject on which he was writing. The work was 
planned by the original commissioners, Petrie, Todd, Larcom, 
and myself, and then mainly executed by O'Donovan and 




From the Right Rev, Dr. Reeves, 

" Conway House, Dunmurry, Co. Antrim, 

" May i8, 1887. 

" My dear Gilbert, 

"I am glad to see your handwriting again after 
long abeyance. You have had heavy afflictions, and varied 
losses, enough to prostrate any man, and your recovery of 
health and energy is a great blessing. I have not seen the 
Report of the Royal Commission of Historical Manuscripts 
which you mention, and I would enjoy very much the reading 
of your article therein. I regret to say that for six months 
my health has been unsatisfactory, and that my spirits and 
energy are very low. I have neither read nor written any- 
thing in my old line during this time, and I fear that I am 
not Hkely to have much freedom, or even inclination, for such 
employment. I find the duties of my office heavy and 
exacting, quite enough to tax the energies of a young man, 
whereas I am now past seventy-two. 

" I have not heard of or from Hennessy for an age. As 
regards the * Chartulary of Tristernagh,* which is in the 
Armagh Library, I don't know what may be the disposition 
of the existing authorities as to the lending it out. The 
librarian now is the Rev. Benjamin Wade, whose address is, 
*The Library, Armagh.' I have not seen that beloved re- 
pository, nor even been in Armagh since the end of October 
last. I have not yet seen the facsimile of the 'Book of 
Ballymote ; ' in fact, I have seen nothing of old places and 
old objects, and am as much out of the way of archaeology as 
a man can well be. 

"Yours faithfully, 

**Wm. Down and Connor." 

Having steadily in view the publication of all available 
historic records in connection with the true history of Ireland 
in the period on which it was his desire to throw light. 



Gilbert applied at this time for a particular permission, and 
received the following in reply : — 

From Classon Porter, 

"Dublin, Rolls Chamber, June 7, 1887. 

" Dear Sir, 

"With reference to your letter of the 19th ult., 
enclosing a proposal for the publication of certain valuable 
historical records, I have been directed by his Honour to 
inform you that he has forwarded your proposal to the Lords 
Commissioners of H.M. Treasury, with a strong recommenda- 
tion to their lordships to sanction the undertaking of the 
work. I was able, also, to refer their lordships to the 
former correspondence on this subject between them and 
Sir E. Sullivan. I presume that Lord Plunkett, the Arch- 
bishop of Dublin, in whose custody these records are, will be 
willing to give his consent and co-operation in the matter. 

" Yours faithfully, 

"Classon Porter." 

From Prof, H. d' Arbois de Jubainville, 

" Jubainville par Martigny 

" les Gerbonvaux (Vosges), 

"le 8 septembre, 1887 

"Cher Monsieur Gilbert, 

" Votre lettre m'a fait un grand plaisir mele de 
chagrin. J'ai eu grand plaisir a vous lire et a vous savoir 
bien portant, bien triste de savoir la cause de votre silence. 
Cependant vous m'avez leve un poids lourd a porter sur le 
coeur. II m'etait penible de penser que peut-etre mes deux 
compte-rendus de vos Facsimiles vous avaient mecontente 
et que c'etait la cause de votre silence avec moi. Personne 
n'a ete pour moi plus bienveillant que vous a Dublin, et jamais 
je n'oublierai toutes vos bontes pour moi. 

" Je vous remercie de votre article de \ AthencBum. J'ai 



fait revenir de Londres un exemplaire du Livre de Ballymote. 
Je n'ai pas entendu parler de la discussion de la Chambre des 
Communes au sujet des Brehon Laws. Auriez vous la bonte 
de me donner la dessus quelque details ? 

" II y a en Irlande deux clergymen Catholiques qui font 
de bons travaux, les PP. MacCarthy et Hogan. Si vous 
avez occasion de les voir, dites leur que je publierai volontiers 
des travaux d'eux. 

" Ton a vous de coeur, 

H. d'Arbois de Jubainville." 

In 1887, having been chosen to fill a post of public trust 
of which the duties were congenial to his tastes, harmonizing 
well with the nature of his works, he received the following 
communication : — 

From Lord Adolphus Vane Tempest, 

" Viceregal Lodge, Dublin, 

" December 30, 1887. 

"Dear Sir, 

" I am directed by His Excellency to notify to 
you that he will be pleased to appoint you to the Board of 
Governors of the National Gallery of Ireland in place of the 
late Earl of Meath, if you are willing to undertake the duties 
of the post. 

" I am, sir, 

" Yours faithfully, 

" Adolphus Vane Tempest." 

His love of art was genuine, his taste pure, his interest 
in portraiture, as history, was keen in proportion to his 
passion for the vivid presentment of truth in the past ; and 
his zeal for the discovery, preservation, and reproduction of 
the portraits of remarkable Irishmen, especially of those 
worthy of the veneration of their fellow-countrymen, was 
unflagging. In many instances he made great efforts to 



familiarize his readers with the features of men whose faces 
were only to be seen on the walls of the monasteries or 
palaces of Italy and Spain, or otherwise to secure as illustra- 
tions of his historical works rare copies of interesting portraits 
or pictures of which the world knew little or nothing. 

The appended excerpts from correspondence on these 
subjects will just suggest his method of working with a view 
to procuring the pictured presentment of heroes or strenuous 
workers for the cause of Ireland in the past. 

From Rev, P. S. Dunne, O.S.F. 

" St. Isidore's, Rome, August 4, 1877. 
" I have been told by Dr. Brady that you are anxious to 
obtain drawings or photographs of some of the figures in the 
Theological Hall. So soon as I received Dr. Brady's letter 
I sent for a photographer, who told me that not only can any 
of the frescoes be taken, but that he would undertake to do 
so. I shall be very happy to engage the services of one of 
the best photographers in Rome, and send you the portraits 
with as little delay as possible." 

From the Same, 

"August 27, 1877. 
"I enclose copies of the photographs in order that you 
may see whether they will suit. In case they should not, I 
can have them taken again. As you will see, Fleming comes 
out very well, the others not being so well defined, in con- 
sequence of the presence of too much light. The photographers 
required to cover up all the windows on that side. If you 
intend your book for the public, I would wish to have a few 
copies here." 

From the Same. 

" September 3, 1877. 
" I shall have Power and Colgan retaken in a few days. 
We are at present covering the windows at that end of the 



schoolroom more carefully than before, and I hope there will 
be no fear of a second failure. Should it be in my power to 
render you any further service, I hope you will tell me in what 
way, as I should consider my time well spent in such a task." 

From the Same. 

"October, 1877. 

I forward the two remaining photographs, which, on the 
occasion of our last attempt, came out more successfully. I 
got them coloured also according to your wish. The colour- 
ing of Colgan is very well, but Power's upper lip is more like 
the rest of his face — that is, fresh and youthful looking. His 
hair is light. With this exception, Power is very well taken, 
and I think there would be little difficulty found in having 
his features." 

From the Same. 

" December 27, 1877. 
" I enclose the photographs which in your last letter you 
wished to have taken and forwarded. I am of opinion 
that the photographer has fairly done his part, particularly 
in Fleming's case. The colouring is also well executed, 
Fleming's figure coming out to great advantage (except in 
the face, where the colours are too lively), a faithful likeness. 
The colouring of the other is not within many degrees of 
being so good. The features are overdone, and the expression 
is consequently lost, at least to some extent. I do not know 
whether this will satisfy you. I should have sent you these 
sooner had I not entertained the false hope of being able 
to discover some of the books you wished me to procure for 
you. The bookseller met me with the most satisfactory 
assurances in the beginning, but was unable afterwards to 
realize all his boastful promises. However, he tells me he 
is determined to succeed yet. I hope so. The reason it is 
so difficult to find these books is because the old libraries 



have been long since disposed of, and for the most part lie 
perdu in the bookshops. When I write again, I hope I shall 
have better news." 

From the Same, 

" February 21, 1878. 

" After a very long interval, I am at length able to send 
another copy of the fresco and some gratifying news. The 
present photograph is, I think, far superior to the last in 
the truth of its colouring. The figure on the left correspond- 
ing to that of Wadding on the right has lost, to some extent, 
its expression of countenance. But the heads are so small 
that the touch must be extremely delicate, and therefore 
very difficult, even for an artist. I should imagine, however, 
that you might get a better expression should you consider 
it essential. But in that case it would be necessary to detach 
it from the group. You will be glad to hear that I have got 
another assurance of success from my friend the bookseller. 
The books are all found, and will be on their way to Rome 
in a few days. I am very thankful for the papers you sent 

From Rev, P. T. Cleary^ OS.F 

"4, Merchants' Quay, Dublin. 
" I have just received a letter from Fr. Carey. I send 
you an extract from his letter that concerns you. 'Please 
give my kindest and best regards to Mr. Gilbert, and tell him 
that Fr. Bonaventure Baron died on 18 March, 1696, and 
precisely at hora 4 noctis, as the tombstone says. Also tell 
him that I have forwarded to the Convent of Clonmel, by 
order of Fr. Cooney, an oil-painting of B. Baron, taken from 
the old plate I found here. I could not get the plate photo- 
graphed ; it was stained. But the painting is very well done, 
and exact copy of the print.' " 



From Evelyn Philip Shirley. 

" Ettington Park, Stratford-on-Avon. 
" Pray accept my best thanks for sending me that curious 
print of Sir Anthony Shirley, which is different from any 
which I have of him, and which I have added to my collec- 
tion of Shirley portraits." 

From the Dttke of Leinster, 

" October, 1884. 

" Would it be possible for me to get the facsimile of 
Queen Mary's patent which you have included in the 
* National Manuscripts,' part iv., plate 2 ? I should much 
like to put it among my collection of family portraits and 

From the Same. 

"December 23, 1890. 
* I have a copy of the Singleton print of Lord Edward 
Fitzgerald, here in my father's collection of family portraits ; 
but I do not know who has the Ozias Humphrey drawing it 
was taken from. I am glad you liked the pheasants." 

From Richard Nugent. 

"January 31, 1888. 

"In answer to your question as to whether I had in- 
cluded amongst my ' collections ' an account of the extant 
portraits of the family, I grieve to say I have not, and am 
therefore very glad to hear of any such as those you have 
seen at Lord Gormanston's. I suppose he is now in his 
Governorship of one of the Colonies, or I would write to him, 
either direct or through a mutual friend, to ask him whom the 
pictures in his possession are supposed to represent. 

" I will inquire, as you suggest, if there are any in the 
houses of the old families in Meath or Westmeath, but I 
have never heard if there were any such." 



Froin Henry E. Doyle, C.B, 

" National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, March 2, 1888. 
" Many thanks for your letter, and for your intervention 
about the portrait of Dr. Madden. I have just come from 
seeing the one offered, and it really is too much of a daub. 
It was evidently not much originally, but has been evidently 
spoiled by a restorer d. few years ago. Dr. Madden, who has 
a much better one in his dining-room, I thought, took my 
objection very well, and gave me two engravings of his father, 
one of which I will hang amongst the portraits." 

In 1890 he caused a copy to be made of the portrait of 
O'Sullivan Beare, Count of Berehaven, which is to be seen 
in the Colegio de Nobles Irlandeses at Salamanca. The 
Rev. Denis Murphy, SJ., made the necessary arrangement 
with the college. 

From Rev. Denis Mtirphyy S,y, 

" Dublin, July 15, 1890. 
**I enclose you Dr. Cowan's letter. Inquiries are going 
on about the history of the Wogan portrait. I have heard 
that Lord Talbot's is a copy, and ours the original. As soon 
as I hear something final of the matter I shall let you know." 

From Rev, J, Cowan to Rev. D, Murphy, S.y, 

" Colegio de Nobles Irlandeses, Salamanca, 

"July II, 1890. 

" I am glad to learn that the picture arrived safe, and that 
it pleases you and your Irish friends. I may tell you that I 
showed it to several Spaniards and Irish here, who, comparing 
it with the original, declared it to be an excellent copy. 

" I do not remember whether I told you that I got the 
original beautifully and permanently restored by the same 



artist, D. Mariano Lafuente. I have no doubt the same 
artist would undertake to make copies of the paintings you 
mention. The three paintings in the room next where you 
were writing are those of S. Ignacius, S. Francis Xavier, and 
Ven. Thomas Vitus ; in another room is that of Father 
Joseph Delamar." 

During several years Gilbert contributed from time to 
time short biographies of Irishmen to the "Dictionary of 
National Biography." With his never-flagging desire for 
justice and accuracy, he took great pains to include both 
of these qualities within the limits prescribed, which were 
often much too narrow in proportion to the importance of 
the subject. Not infrequently he was troubled at seeing the 
lack of thorough knowledge displayed in the treatment of 
these short records, and the easy carelessness with which 
serious truths concerning them were relegated to obscurity. 
In this spirit he devoted precious time to amending and 
supplementing, out of his own store of superior knowledge, 
such articles as Leslie Stephen submitted to him for 
criticism and revision. The following passages from letters 
are selected from a large correspondence between Gilbert 
and the editor of the " Dictionary of National Biography," too 
private and personal for publication : — 

From Leslie Stephen, 

" ' Dictionary of National Biography,' 

" 15, Waterloo Place, London. 

"Dear Sir, 

" I am much obliged by your * Life of Bellings,* which 
is, I think, in all respects, what we need. Articles based 
upon hitherto unpublished materials are, of course, specially 
valuable . . . The great difficulty, as I find, is to induce con- 
tributors to give a maximum of information with a minimum 
of verbosity. In some cases the process of smelting the 


rough ore supplied to me is most troublesome. But your 
article is in need of no such attentions. We shall send you 
a new list in a fortnight or so. 

" Yours, with many thanks, 

"L. Stephen." 

From the Same, 

I regret the mistake you mention. The article is written 
by a man in whom I have every confidence, but who had on 
this occasion gone rather outside his line. I wish that the 
dictionary were so accurate, and excited so much interest in 
the world, that a mistake more or less were a matter of any 

The "mistake more or less" was just the thing that 
Gilbert could not tolerate, and it was to secure accuracy in the 
recorded facts concerning the lives of men connected with 
the history of Ireland that he would turn aside from his 
large work to the task of condensing, into almost impossible 
limits, the truths which it was in his power to supply or 

During this period he was also contributing articles on 
Irish subjects to the Athencsum^ with the purpose of ensuring 
accuracy in printed records touching on the history of Ireland. 
Dr. MacColl writes to him in May, 1888, " I need hardly say 
I shall be delighted if you will review * Ireland in '98 ' ; " and 
of a review in that journal, John O'Hanlon, librarian of the 
King's Inn Library, Dublin, remarks — 

" It is really singular that people never think of finding 
out what the old inhabitants of the country thought, how 
they viewed the course of events, and the expressions given 
to those views and thoughts by the writers on their side. I 
know, as a matter of fact, Dr. Ball took great pains about his 
book, yet I am quite certain he did not consult the series of 
books in which you are giving the true history of Ireland in 
the seventeenth century." 



From Mrs. Atkinson} 

" 84, Drumcondra Road, Dublin, 

''July 7, 1887. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" I don't know how to thank you for your kind 
thought and valuable present, the ' Account of Facsimiles of 
National Manuscripts of Ireland.' 

" I have often asked for it at the library in Kildare Street. 
I owe a great deal to that book, as well as to other works of 
yours. Now that I am fortunate enough to possess a copy 
of my own, I shall read it with great care and comfort. 

" Dr. Atkinson hopes to have the pleasure of calling on 
you in a day or two. Meanwhile, he joins me in offering 
you very kind regards, and hoping that you may have every 
blessing to enable you to continue your valuable labours in 
the field of Irish history during a long course of peaceful 
and happy years. 

" Believe me to remain, 

" Sincerely and gratefully yours, 

"Sarah Atkinson." 

The following letter of Gilbert, and the reply, suggest the 
pains invariably taken by him to get at the truth by seeking 
it at its source — 

From J, T, Gilbert to Rev. J. T. Towers, O.P. 

" Villa Nova, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, 

"August 4, 1887. 

" Rev. Sir, 

" I take the liberty of asking you to be kind 
enough to favour me with replies to the queries on the other 
side in relation to an ancient member of your Order, 

* Author of ** Mary Aikenhead : her life, her work, and her friends ; (foundress 
of the Irish Sisters of Charity)," and of "Essays" on various Irish subjects, 
including biographical sketches of Eugene O 'Curry, and John Foley, the 
sculptor. These are the first, and probably the only, memoirs written of these 
distinguished Irishmen. Mrs. Atkinson was, during many years, the intimate and 
beloved friend of Gilbert's wife. 


Dominic, or Daniel O'Daly, founder of the Corpo Santo 
College, Lisbon, about the year 1634. I make this request 
because I have undertaken to write an account of O'Daly for 
the ' Dictionary of National Biography,' now in progress at 
London, to extend to fifty volumes, of which several have 
already been published. I am acquainted with all that is 
given about O'Daly by Bishop Burke in his * Hibernia 
Dominicana,' of which I possess a complete copy. I have 
also papers relative to O'Daly with which Bishop Burke 
does not appear to have been conversant, and which have not 
hitherto been published. 

"You will, I feel confident, be anxious to aid me in doing 
justice to the memory of O'Daly, of whom no accurate 
account has yet been printed in English, although he held 
an eminent position in the Order of St. Dominic, and did a 
great deal for Irish Catholics in the times of persecution. 
My friend, Father Fagan, parish priest of this parish, tells 
me that he is sure you will give me any information in your 
power. Enclosed is an account of a book which I am now 
bringing out, which contains an interesting letter written in 
1644, relative to Terence Albert O'Brien, the Provincial of the 
Dominicans in Ireland, subsequently Bishop of Emly, and 
one of the martyrs of his Order. As the notice of O'Daly is 
to be printed immediately, an early reply will oblige. 

" Yours faithfully, 

"John T. Gilbert. 

" Rev. J. T. Towers, O.P. 

" Queries. — i. Does the Order in Ireland or Portugal 
possess any likeness of O'Daly, or any of his original letters 
or papers ? 

"2. Is the inscribed tombstone of O'Daly mentioned in 
' Hibernia Dominicana,' p. 421, still extant in the cloister of 
the Corpo Santo College ; and did his grave suffer from earth- 
quake in 1757 

" 3. Does the convent of * Bom Successo ' still exist, and 
are any memorials of O'Daly preserved there ? " 



From Rev, Thomas J, Smyth, O.P., D,D. 

" 30, Rutland Square, W., Dublin, 

"August, 4, 1887. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" In reply to your favour of this morning, I beg to 
say that the tomb of Father Dominick O'Daly is still preserved 
in our Church of Corpo Santo, Lisbon. The only document 
which ever fell into my hands in relation to him was the 
original deed of gift made by the Countess of Atalya, and 
signed by him, in which she transferred her house and lands 
to him for a Convent of Irish Dominican nuns. Some of the 
provisions of this deed are very curious, such as the admittance 
of three Portuguese ladies who were to wear a badge declaring 
that all their good works were to go to the benefit of the 
Countess of Atalya. The further history of the foundation is 
full of interest, as at that time Portugal was under Philip II. 
of Spain, who insisted upon the Royal placet in the foundation 
of every religious community. Dominick O'Daly went to 
Madrid for that purpose, and after many delays obtained the 
Royal consent, on condition that he would raise a regiment of 
Irish soldiers, 1000 strong, for the wars going on in Flanders. 
Father O'Daly came to Ireland, and in a very short time 
raised the soldiers, and placed them under the orders of the 
Spanish Commanders in the Low Countries, hastening himself 
to Madrid to obtain his reward. Again he was refused, 
offers were made to him of pensioning certain relatives of 
his own — offers which he indignantly rejected — and declared 
that he would not be satisfied with less than the fulfilment 
of the Royal promise. After many delays and disappoint- 
ments, Philip at length yielded, and so the Convent of Bom 
Successo was founded. From that date up to the present 
it [has] remained in connection with the Irish province of 
Dominicans. At the present moment it has 32 religious, all 
Irish except two, and their schools are made up of children 
of the first families of Portugal and the Brazils. A great 
deal of interesting information is given by a Portuguese 



Dominican, Padre Sousa, about this Convent of Bom Success©, 
and of Corpo Santo, and incidentally of Father O'Daly. I 
enclose a copy of the deed of gift by the Countess of Atalya 
which a Portuguese tried to turn into English, the attempt was 
a poor one, however, it will give you an idea of the original. 

" Padre Sousa has written a very interesting history of all 
the Dominican foundations in Portugal, and has given also 
a sketch of some of their illustrious members. The work 
is in Portuguese ; but I am sure the nuns of Bom Successo 
would only be too happy to transcribe for you any informa- 
tion that may assist you in the great work in which you 
are engaged. Their history from 1649 to the present is 
highly interesting, braving as they did every storm that 
swept away the religious orders from Portugal. Even as 
late as my own time, an attempt was made to take possession 
of the property of the nuns, which, of course, I resisted, and 
succeeded through the interposition of Lord Lytton, who was 
at that time British Minister at the Court of Portugal. This 
attempt was made by the Portuguese authorities about the 
time of the return of the Prince of Wales ^ from India, and 
as he called in Lisbon, I thought it would be in the interests of 
the Convent if we could get his Royal Highness to pay a visit 
to the community. He very kindly consented, and came with 
his surroundings and partook of the hospitality we were able 
to give him. Since that time Bom Successo was left in peace. 

"Any further information I can give you I shall only be 
too happy to furnish it. Meantime, if you wish to com- 
municate directly with the Convent, I enclose an introduction. 
" Yours very truly, 

"Thomas J. Smyth, O.P." 

In 1887 Gilbert was requested by the Corporation of 
Dublin to undertake the work of editing and publishing 
the city muniments, a task which required great palaeogra- 
phical skill and knowledge of history. Early in life he had, 
for purposes of his own research, consulted the municipal 

^ Now King Edward VH. 



muniments, making himself thoroughly acquainted with their 
contents. In a series of large splendid manuscript volumes, 
which he entitled " De Rebus Eblanse," ^ he had collected 
from many sources selections from writings bearing on the 
history of the city, and including many excerpts from the 
Charters, Assembly Rolls, and other Ancient Records of 
Dublin. During a long course of years the Corporation 
of Dublin had appealed to him for information in all cases 
within their jurisdiction requiring to be decided by precedent. 
Decisions of suits at law sometimes waited on such research, 
and the histories of the proprietorship of localities ; leases ; con- 
struction, and regulating of water-courses, etc., made reference 
to the ancient rules and customs necessary. As Gilbert had 
already mastered these ancient records, it was ultimately re- 
solved by the Municipal Council to invite him to render them 
accessible to the public, and in 1889 he began the publication 
of the " Calendar of Ancient Records of Dublin," which are 
illustrated with facsimiles of manuscripts, rare engravings, 
portraits, buildings, bridges, and other features of the city no 
longer existing. 

In 1888 Gilbert made an appeal to the Council of the 
Royal Irish Academy to take up the work of translating 
certain of the Old Irish Texts, the contents of which were 
practically inaccessible to students of the ancient Irish 
literature. The correspondence which follows illustrates the 
course of this movement. 

Fro7n J. T, Gilbert to Dr. Whitley Stokes. 

" Villa Nova, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, 

"January 24, 1888. 

"My dear Dr. Stokes, 

" Enclosed you will find a brief report from this 

morning's Dublin paper of a proposition which I brought 

yesterday before a public meeting of the Royal Irish Academy 

in relation to a subject in which you are deeply interested. 

* This- collection of manuscripts, *'De Rebus Ebl.inoe," is now in the 
possession of the Corporation of Dublin. 



You will see that it has been referred to the Council to 
consider and reflect upon. 

" My idea, briefly, is to open the work to every qualified 

" If you approve of the idea, perhaps you will give it 
the advantage of your valuable support in the press, with 
any modifications you may think desirable. One of the 
pieces I hope to see produced, as proposed, is the 'C^)X) bo 
Cii4l)l3t)e translated and edited by you. I should add that 
I have no interest in these matters beyond a strong desire 
to see our old literary remains published by competent hands, 
and beyond endeavouring to effect this, there will be no 
interference on my part. 

" Dr. Atkinson has not been re-elected ' Todd Professor,* 
and at a recent meeting of the Council of the Academy he 
renounced all further work on an Irish dictionary. 

" Believe me to be, 

" Yours very truly, 

"John T. Gilbert." 

Froju Dr. Whitley Stokes, 

" 15, Grenville Place, London, S.W., 

"January 25, 1888. 

"My dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" I am now, and shall be for the next three 
months, so busy with my Anglo-Indian Codes, vol. iii., that 
I cannot write fully on the important subject of your letter. 
I will merely set down briefly my ideas on the four points 
mentioned therein — 

" I. As there is now no one in Ireland, except Mr. 
Hennessy, competent to edit a middle-Irish manuscript, it is 
obvious that the Academy, if it wishes to make the contents 
of its facsimiles acceptable to the public within any reasonable 
time, must resort to such scholars as Mr, Standish-Hayes 
O'Grady, Dr. Kuno Meyer, Prof. Thurneysen, Dr. Schirmer, 
and (if he would consent) Prof. Windisch. 




" 2. But in my opinion the wisest thing for the Academy 
to do at present would be to spend their available funds in 
bringing out a photographic facsimile of the ' Book of Lecan.' 
(The photographic process practised by the Clarendon Press 
is very superior to that employed in producing the facsimile 
of the 'Book of Ballymote/ and should be adopted by the 
Academy.) As well as I remember, the whole of the * Book 
of Lecan ' could be successfully photographed ; and this 
manuscript has the great advantage of containing independent 
copies of much of the contents of the * Book of Ballymote.' 
The legible parts of the ' Yellow Book of Lecan ' (in T.CD.) 
and of the 'Book of Fermoy' should also be photographed. 

" 3. As to the 'C^)X\ B6 Cudjl3Tje, Prof. Windisch intends 
to publish it, I believe, from the ' Yellow Book of Lecan.* He 
has a copy of the text, and has begun the translation. I, at 
least, should never think of competing with him. 

"4. Dr. Atkinson has done wisely in giving up his project 
of an Irish Thesaurus. I wonder how much it has cost 
already ? 

" P.S. — You will see a specimen of the photolithography 
done by the Clarendon Press in Mr. R. Ellis's xii. facsimiles 
from Latin manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, 1885. 
I don't know the special name of the process, but I was told 
that it was inexpensive, and certainly the results are far 
clearer and sharper than your Ballymote volume. The 
spaces between the lines are white. I have no doubt your 
Dublin photographer could easily learn this process, if he 
does not already know it." 

From y. T. Gilbert to Dr. Whitley Stokes. 

" Villa Nova, Blackrock, co. Dublin, 

"January 26, 1888. 

"My dear Dr. Stokes, 

"My pleasure at receiving your kind note was 
much increased by finding that your ideas correspond almost 
entirely with those entertained by me. There are, however, 



one or two points on which I should like to say a few 
words. First, let me state that the names of those you 
mention as editors are exactly those who, I hope, may be 
induced to come forward. I have sent a copy of the proposal 
to Kuno Meyer, and am writing by this post to Standish 
Hayes O'Grady. I will also send copies of the printed slip 
to Thurneysen, Windisch, and Schirmer. Might not Ascoli 
also be communicated with ? 

" I never approved of the photolithograph of the * Book of 
Ballymote.' There are many errors in the introduction with 
regard to the history of this valuable manuscript. See the 
AthencBum of September 3, 1887. 

" I am sorry to say that from what I hear of Mr. Hennessy's 
state of health there is not very much prospect of his doing 
work for some time. His * Annals of Ulster* is still unpublished. 

"You may recollect that many years ago I proposed to 
photograph the 'Book of Lecan* as a memorial volume for 
Dr. Todd, but this was prevented mainly by the opposition 
of Sir S. Ferguson. To do the whole volume now would be 
costly, and would be, to a great extent, as you observe, a re- 
production of pieces in ' Ballymote.' It occurred to me that 
your views as to more facsimiles might be met by the 
Academy undertaking to furnish (gratis) photographs of such 
pieces as the editors might desire, from Dublin manuscripts 
not conveniently accessible to them. The * Yellow Book of 
Lecan ' belongs to T.C.D., which ought to photolithograph 
it. I fear that the ' Book of Fermoy ' is too faded and stained 
to be induced to come out by the sun. 

" The Council of the Academy does not include any one 
qualified to form accurate views on the matter which has 
been referred to it, but I believe that nearly all the members 
are upright in their ideas, and anxious to do what is most for 
the interests of the institution. It has occurred to me that 
under the circumstances it would be desirable to get short 
expressions of opinion from the persons really conversant 
with the subject, and to have these printed, so as to influence 
public opinion, and to go to the House of Commons if there 



should be a failure with the Academy Council. Among 
these statements any one from you would be of the highest 

" I was very glad to see your volume of Anglo-Indian 
Codes, and at once had the work ordered for our new 
National Library of Ireland, of which I am one of the four 
trustees appointed by the Crown. I look forward to the 
time when I may have the great pleasure of seeing the 
Anglo-Indian Codes, followed by the Old Irish Codes,^ 
under the same editorship. 

" I am happy to say that I do not think there is much 
probability of the existing unsatisfactory state of affairs in 
that direction being allowed to continue without attention 
being again called to it in the House of Commons. 

" It would not be easy to answer your inquiry as to the 
cost of the projected Irish * Thesaurus,' but we shall in due 
time obtain all the details. 

" Yours very truly, 

" John T. Gilbert." 

From Dr, Kuno Meyer, 

" University College, Liverpool, February 3, 1888. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" I have thought much about your proposal, and 
had some correspondence with Stokes and other scholars 
about it. My views are these, and I hope you and the 
committee to whom the matter has been referred may con- 
sider them before any definite conclusion is arrived at. 

"The publication in facsimile of the four great Irish 
Manuscripts has enabled scholars all over the world to become 
acquainted with the oldest literature extant, and they have at 
once set to work to utilize the vast materials. The Irish texts 
of Windisch and Stokes will be continued, and may become 
a * Corpus ' of middle-Irish literature in the course of time. 
Atkinson, Stokes, and myself have published, and, I hope, 

^ The Brelion Laws. 



shall go on publishing, separate texts of importance with 
translations. No doubt it is sometimes difficult to find a 
publisher, and our work is not paid. Yet I think Atkinson 
is right in saying that this work will not be abandoned. But 
I also think it might be supported, facilitated, and directed 
in a way from which the public at large would derive greater 

" On the other hand, our greatest need is to have more 
materials yet, and as long as the * Book of Lecan ' and the 
' Yellow Book of Lecan ' are not photographed, I think the 
other work must be left to go on by itself. But here is my 
point. Would it not be possible, with the money you have 
at your disposal, not only to reproduce these two manuscripts, 
but also to furnish them with introductions, summaries of 
contents, in some cases translations, notes, glossary, etc., in 
a yet more perfect way than Atkinson has done in the case 
of the * Book of Leinster ' } If you could see your way to 
unite several scholars in that work (though it might take 
years), it would be the best thing you could do under the 
present circumstances. 

" I may tell you that Windisch is seriously thinking of a 
complete edition of the T^JT) Bo Cud)l3T)e, that I have just 
completed a translation of the * lochinare Emere,* which will 
appear in the new Archceological Review, and that several 
other scholars are engaged on minor texts. 

With very kind regards, 

Yours faithfully, 
" KuNO Meyer." 

From Dr, R, Thurneysen. 

"Fribourg, 5 f^vrier, 1888. 

" Cher Monsieur, 

" Je vous remercie de votre honoree lettre du 28 
janv. Je suis tout-a-fait de votre avis ; si vous venez a faire 
connaitre au public irlandais et anglais le contenu des 
manuscrits irlandais, il n'y a aucune raison pour attendre plus 
longtemps. Car on n'arrivera jamais ou tres tard a publier 



en facsimile ious les manuscrits qui contiennent des textes 

J'ai hesite asscz longtemps avant de repondre. La raison 
en est que la nouvelle position dans laquelle je me trouve 
comme professeur a I'universite de Fribourg, occupe presque 
tout mon temps ; il ne me reste done guere de loisir pour des 
travaux scientifiques qui ne se rattachent pas etroitement 
aux cours que j'ai a donner, et cet etat durera probablement 
encore plus d'un an. 

" Mais d'autre part, TAcademie royale de I'lrlande a rendu 
aux Celtophiles du continent de tels services en publiant en 
facsimile les plus importants manuscrits du moyen age, que 
je crois ne pas devoir refuser, si, par mon faible concours, je 
puis lui rendre un service, et lui temoigne ma reconnaissance. 

" II y a une autre difficulte, la langue. La langue frangaise, 
que vous admettez, me semble tres peu faite pour des 
traductions de I'irlandais, parce qu'elle manque completement 
de mots composes, qui abondent dans les textes irlandais, 
Vous ne parlez pas de I'allemand, une langue naturelle, 
probablement parce qu'elle est peu connue du public anglais. 
Si elle doit etre resolue, j'aimerai mieux me servir de 
I'anglais, me faisant assister par quelqu'un de plus verse 
dans I'emploi de cette langue que je ne le suis malheureuse- 
ment. Cela sera un peu penible, mais toujours mieux que 
le frangais. 

" J'espere bientot apprendre les noms des collaborateurs, 
au nombre desquels, je pense, M. Hennessy et M. Atkinson 
ne manqueront pas. 

"Agreez, monsieur, I'expression de mes sentiments dis- 

" R. Thurneysen." 
From Dr. Ernst Windisch, 

" Leipzig, 8 Februar. 1888. 

"Dear Sir, 

*' I was very glad to receive your letter with the 
report of a proposition made by you to the Royal Irish 



Academy in relation to translating Irish language manu- 
scripts, and I sincerely wish that your good intentions may 
meet with best success. You know that I take a very great 
interest in the old Irish language and literature, though my 
first enthusiasm is cooled down a little by the feuds and 
personal attacks among the Celtic scholars. I fully agree 
with you that the old valuable texts of Irish literature ought to 
be made more accessible to the general public by trustworthy 
translations. I, as well as other Celtologues outside Ireland, 
will be ready to contribute to this aim as well as they can. 
But first of all, the national Irish scholars ought to apply 
themselves to the same work. I have no doubt that there 
are many things of which they have a better knowledge than 
foreigners. But that does not deter me to go on in my way. 
You say that there will be a remuneration for the translations. 
Will it not be a point of discontent, if money is given away 
to foreigners } I am now engaged with a German translation 
of the T^jt) bo Cu4)l5ne, the first half of which will be ready 
for print, I hope, in 1889. I intended to publish it in the 
next part of the ' Irish Texts,' if my excellent friend, Mr. H. 
Hirzel, continues to print books which do not pay. I take 
the text of this famous story from your facsimiles of the 'Book 
of Leinster ' and the * Leabhar na h-Uidhri ; ' but I have also 
an independent copy of the text in the * Book of Leinster,' 
copies of two fragmentary manuscripts of it which are in the 
British Museum, and a nearly complete copy from the ' Yellow 
Book of Lecan,' partly made by myself, partly made for me 
by others on my expense. I should be very glad to know if 
one of the other Dublin Manuscripts, which H. d'Arbois de 
Jubainville mentions in his Catalogue, contains the beginning 
of the whole tale, as it is in the 'Book of Leinster' (pp. 53- 
55), I mean especially the Stowe Manuscript, xxxii. p. 29 
(d'Arbois' Catalogue, p. 214); the T.C.D. Manuscripts, H. i. 13. 
p. 195 ; H. I. 14, fol. 3 (d'Arbois' Catalogue, p. 215). The 
'Yellow Book of Lecan ' agrees with the ' Leabhar na h-Uidhri,' 
but I have no manuscript which agrees with the ' Book of 
Leinster.' If it was possible to get a copy of the beginning 



part from the manuscripts mentioned, this might prove a 
great help. 

*' I have also nearly finished an edition and translation of 
the ' Cophur in da Mucceda ' from the manuscripts mentioned 
in d'Arbois' Catalogue, p. 98, and the same of the T-^jt) bd 
2l)t)3et) from the manuscripts mentioned in d'Arbois' Catalogue, 
p. 213 ; both are smaller stories belonging to the remscela 
of the great T^ji), some of which I have already tried to 
translate. This is what I intended to do, besides a transla- 
tion of the ple-D Bti)€;|ieT3-D and some other texts published in 
my book, * Irische Texte,' and besides a supplement to my 
Worterbuch, meant as a help to further studies, but not as 
a complete Dictionary of the Language. In spite of the 
shortcomings of my work, I venture to think that it was, and 
will be, of some use, for it is always of use to see how a 
predecessor got on. I pray you to excuse my saying so 
much about plans of mine. But I see no other way for 
giving you a substantial answer on the letter with which you 
were kind enough to favour me. If there is any way in 
which I may be of some use to you or to your plans, it will 
give me always great pleasure to be at your service. I sent 
the letter you enclosed to my young friend, Dr. Schirmer. 
I am, Sir, with best compliments, 

" Yours very truly, 

"Ernst Windisch." 

From Dr. Robert Atkinson, 

" Royal Irish Academy, 19, Dawson Street, Dublin, 

" February 16, 1888. 

"My dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" The Committee having met yesterday, asked 
me to beg of you to be kind enough to help them to form 
a judgment by laying before them a statement of your views 
as to the translations, etc., desired by your motion. Perhaps 
the enclosed resolution they passed will be the clearest way 
I can lay it before you. 

" Yours faithfully, 

" Robert Atkinson. 



" Copy of Resolution. 

" That Mr. Gilbert be requested to furnish to the Com- 
mittee a detailed statement of his views with respect to the 
procuring and publishing of translations of the books issued 
in facsimile by the Academy, before Saturday next." 

From Dr. G. Sckirmer. 

*' 46, Ranstaedter Steinweg, Leipzig, 

" Febr. 20th, 1888. 

"Dear Sir, 

" Excuse me that I did not answer your letter 
earlier, but Prof. Windisch, not knowing my address, could 
forward your paper to me only to-day. Now I must say 
that I feel very much flattered by your kind proposition, and 
you may be sure therefore that it will do me great pleasure 
to support the fine and useful undertaking of the R.I. A. as 
far as it is in my power. 

"Believe me, dear Sir, 

" Yours most obediently, 


From Dr. Whitley Stokes, 

" 19, Grenville Place, London, S.W., 

"March 23, 1888. 

"My dear Mr. Gilbert, 

"Thanks for letting me see the Report, which I 


" As matters have gone so far, my advice, if you want it, 
is to let Dr. Atkinson finish the work. The glossary will, at 
all events, be useful as an index, and it will be very desirable 
to have two more volumes of laws in print, whatever may be 
their inaccuracies and omissions. As to the third subject of 
your letter, the translation of parts of the manuscripts of 
which the Academy has published facsimiles, the more I 
think of this the more I am convinced that the wisest thing 



to do would be to postpone the execution of the scheme until 
photographic facsimiles of the * Book of Lecan ' and the 

* Yellow Book of Lecan ' have been made available to 
scholars. AH the Mediaeval Irish Manuscripts — from 

* Leabhar na h'Uidri ' down — are more or less corrupt, and 
it is impossible to edit any text with accuracy and con- 
fidence unless it has at least two independent copies to work 
from. I feel this so strongly that I should positively refuse 
to take part in any scheme of translations if (as is unlikely) 
the Academy should ask me to help. 

*' Yours very truly, 

"Whitley Stokes." 

From Prof. H. d'Arbois de yitbainville, 

" Paris, le 30 mars, 1888. 

"Cher Monsieur, 

" Vous m'avez fait grand plaisir en m'apprenant 
la nouvelle que vous me donnez. Je serai toujours reconnais- 
sant de vos bontes pour moi pendant mon sejour a Dublin, 
il y a sept ans. J'ai ete alors fort heureux de trouver en vous 
un veritable savant en meme temps qu'un homme aussi 
bienveillant pour moi. 

"Je me remercie beaucoup des offres de service que vous 
me faites. Tout ce que je desire est d'etre tenu au courant 
des travaux qui se font en Irlande sur I'irlandais. Je me 
suis procure le Book of Bally mote que j'ai achete pour 
moi ; j'en ai fait acheter un par le College de France pour 
le bibliotheque. J'ai donne des ordres pour qu'on me fit 
revenir le tome i des Annales d' Ulster, qui m'arrivera de 
Londres au premier jour. Atkinson m'a envoye ses Todd 
Lectures, J'en ai rendu compte dans la Revue Celtique. 
J'ignore s'il a ete satisfait de mon compte rendu. Naturelle- 
ment il ne vous a pas mis dans sa confidence. 

" Je ne pense pas profiter pour moi de votre projet relative- 
ment aux textes irlandais. Je ne sais pas assez d'anglais 
pour traduire en anglais un texte irlandais, et les travaux que 
j'ai entrepris ne me laissent pas de loisir. 



" I*" J'ai commence une traduction en fran9ais du Senchus 
M6r avec commentaire. i"" J'explique a mes eleves les textes 
edites par Windisch, et je leur fait publier des traductions de 
ces textes en frangais. Un de ces textes est dans le dernier 
n*". de la Revtce Celtique, les autres ont paru ailleurs. 3** 
Enfin je refais la grammaire celtique dans I'ordre, et suivant 
le systeme de Brugmann : Grtindriss der vergleichejiden 
Grammatik 1886. 

" Je n'ai done le temps de Hen faire de plus sauf la Revue 

" Votre bien devoue, 

"H. d'Arbois de Jubainville." 

From the Same, 

" 84, Boulevard Montparnasse, Paris, le 26 Janvier, 1889. 

"Cher Monsieur, 

Dans la prochaine livraison de la Revtie Celtique^ 
je parle de la polemique qui s'est fait entre M. Whitley Stokes 
et le Rev. B. MacCarthy dans le journal \ Academy, Je crains 
que mes amis de Dublin ne blament Tattitude que j'ai prise. 
J'ai agi selon ma conscience. 

" Le Rev. B. MacCarthy est un homme tres distingue qui 
a fait d'excellentes choses et qui, s'il continue, fera mieux 
encore. II sait beaucoup d'irlandais ancien, mais plus encore 
d'irlandais moderne, et il a besoin d'etudier encore un peu la 
grammaire de I'irlandais ancien. 

"Je suis etonne que vous n'ayez pas eu I'idee d'entre- 
prendre avec lui une nouvelle edition des Annates de Tiger- 
nach. La plus grande partie de cet interessant document qui 
devrait etre publid en entier sans exception de ce qui a 
rapport a I'histoire ancienne, n'offrirait pour vous aucune 
difficulte puisque c'est un texte latin et que personne n'est 
mieux prepare que vous a en etre editeur. Quant a la partie 
irlandaise, celle qui a ete la plus mal traitee par O'Conor, elle 
offre tr^s peu de difficultes, puisque les memes formules s'y 



repetent a satiete, et qu'on trouve a peu pres I'equivalent dans 
les Annates d' Ulster. S'il pouvait vous etre agreable que je 
revisse les epreuves, je me mettrais a votre entiere disposi- 
tion. Mais, avec le concours du Reverend B. MacCarthy, 
vous n'aviez aucun besoin de moi. Les Annates de Tiger- 
nach sont un des monuments les plus importants du haut 
moyen age. 

" J'ai appris avec un grand regret, la mort de ce pauvre 
Hennessy, qui est une tres grande perte. 

*'J'ai appris ces jours ci que la Bibliotheque nationale 
possede un exemplaire de la reproduction lithographique des 
manuscrits des lois de brehons copies par O'Donovan et 
O'Curry. Je vais m'amuser a comparer a cette copie certains 
passages de 1 edition qui sont particulierement curieux par les 
sottises qu'ils renferment. 

" Croyez-moi votre bien devoue, 

" H. d'Arbois de Jubainville." 

Dr. W. K. Sullivan, then in declining health, wrote in 
January, 1888 — 

" I was astonished when I saw in the Freeman that Dr. 
M'Carthy was Todd Professor. How did it happen t What 
is to become of the great Irish Dictionary? I think your 
suggestion about spending the ^^400, a year, a most excellent 
one — worthy of the Academy, which by adopting it would set 
a noble example of liberality. This proposal, if carried out, 
would do more for Celtic literature in ten years than the 
present jobbing system would do in a century. I should 
heartily support such a proposal if I could be present on the 
23rd, but I have not been out of my room for five weeks. 
Who is the author of a ' History of the Celtic Church of Ire- 
land ' } Have you seen it t There is a wonderful ignorant 
blunder in it. He makes Sedulius Scotus contemporary with 
Charlemagne, so that he evidently never saw the works of the 
man, either those long known, or the numerous poems dis- 
covered within the last few years, among which are several 
dedicated to Irmintrude, wife of Charles the Bald ! " 



In March of the same year Dr. Sullivan wrote — 

" I saw your notice of your plan in the^ AtkencBum^ and am 
glad to hear that it will likely be adopted. I am very anxious 
to see the Brehon Law Report. I want to have a question 
asked about the ' Crith Gablach' and O' Curry's supposed 
translation. I think that translation should be impounded. 
I want also some information about the copies of the text. 

"All O'Curry's letters, among which were many from 
O'Donovan, were carried off by Dr. Moran to Clonliffe 
Seminary, where the whole of the O'Curry papers and the 
Catholic University Books are to be found. I think you 
might try and have a look at them. Some things belonging 
to me were also carried off. I think I have a couple of 
O'Donovan's letters. I will look them up." 

It was agreed to relinquish the idea of translating the 
Irish texts, and to proceed with the production of photo- 
graphic facsimiles. The books were reproduced by photo- 
graphy, with the addition of introductions and notes, and 
were issued by the Academy as the Royal Irish Academy 
Facsimiles. Gilbert was keenly interested in the presenta- 
tion of these valuable manuscripts to the world — a consumma- 
tion which was first and chiefly owing to his strenuous and 
persistent exertions. 

In the subject-matter of the' printed introduction to the 
*Book of Leinster* he was much disappointed, feeling the 
injustice done to its contents by a lack of sympathy with 
the genius of the early Irish writers. Another source of 
regret to him was the necessity for employing Englishmen 
and foreigners in Ireland to assist in the work of the long 
projected and desired Irish Dictionary, which, after many 
years of labour, is not yet completed. He wished earnestly 
to see young Irishmen, with the learning and enthusiasm of 
O'Donovan and O'Curry, at work on the translation and 
rendering of the Irish texts. Such young students are now 
devoting their attention to the preservation and revival of 
the Irish as still spoken by the peasantry, gathering from the 
memories of the unlettered fresh contributions to poetry and 



folk-lore, some being already equipped for the interpreta- 
tion of ancient Irish writings, and seriously engaged in that 
scientific study which gives to their native tongue so honoured 
and so prominent a place in the history of language. 

It were to be deplored if nothing better could be looked for 
in the future than thin gleams of the mystical and poetic genius 
of our remote ancestors, reflected frorh minds less sympathetic, 
and, by nature, colder than our own ; and, happily, Ireland 
already gives promise of a generation which may bring forth 
not unworthy followers of the great and unselfish workers 
of the nineteenth century. Of the important manuscript 
known as the *'Book of Leinster," a mine of ancient Irish 
lore, very little of the translation has yet been accomplished. 


I 890- I 89 I 

Marriage and Home Life. 

The year 1890 was gladdened for John Gilbert by his 
approaching marriage, which, though it came later than his 
desire, yet brought joy to the crowning years of his unselfish 
and laborious life. Writing of earlier days to the woman 
who had promised to be his wife, he said — 

" That was indeed a happy time for me, but not till now 
have I been in a position to appeal to you for the realization 
of the aspirations which have never since been absent from 
my mind. That a period so dreadfully long should have 
elapsed before I could tell you what I wanted to say to you 
has not been my fault." 

So few of his letters remain that one or two excerpts from 
a sacred correspondence, reflecting his inner nature with 
delightful clearness and simplicity, are admitted here as 
illustrating the many-sided character of the man ; this 
memoir being too largely a record of difficult work, 
accomplished with rigorous self-denial and determination. 

" I believe that I possess two important elements for 
successful work ; they are originality of conception and 
unlimited tenacity and perseverance in pursuing the objects 
which I decide on as deserving. But if these qualities had 
not been supplemented with an intense love of our country, I 
should never have succeeded, single-handed, in the enormous 




work and mental labours by which I have lifted up the 
historic literature of Ireland from the degraded position into 
which it had been plunged by charlatanism and misrepre- 
sentation. Not the least of the many links in the chain which 
binds you and me together is this attachment to our native 
land : 

*' ' Our own dear nation, and our name 
As Irish evermore.' 

" I hope I am now telling you about things of which you 
said you would wish me to write to you. ... If I have done 
some good for my country, I hope to do much more when 
I have you with me." 

" The National Manuscripts of Ireland never would have 
been executed ' but for the energy and determination with 
which I carried it through amidst innumerable obstacles.' " 

" I am at work on the autobiography and correspondence 
of the first Earl of Charlemont, who was the Commander of 
the Irish Volunteers in 1782. The autobiography and corre- 
spondence have not hitherto been published, and are full of 
the most interesting matter, both in Irish politics of the time 
and of literary and artistic matters. It will form an octavo 
volume of about 500 pages, and is printed by Government 
in the series of the Royal Commission on Historical Manu- 
scripts, whose representative I am in Ireland. . . . Lord 
Charlemont's writings should have a great interest for people 
interested in the Home Rule question, but I fear that the 
majority of our politicians are very shallow in their know- 
ledge of real Irish history, and they are frequently falling 
into very ridiculous errors by relying on obsolete and in- 
accurate publications. I should like very much to see a 
rational home-rule measure — of which I have always been 
an advocate — for Ireland, but at present there is a sad de- 
ficiency of education, and of such acquirements as would 
enable the people to administer successfully a government 
for themselves." 



" Have you seen the new Dictionary of National Bio- 
graphy coming out in London under the editorship of Leslie 
Stephen ? It is to extend to 50 volumes, of which about 
half have already appeared. I have written a good many 
biographies of Irish people for it, and am now preparing 
some further notices. As no living people are included, 
neither you nor I — with all our merits! — can be given places 
in it. In another letter I will tell you about the works I am 
at present engaged on, so that you must not suppose I am 
very idle in this * still retreat,' In fact, I have always prided 
myself on being a ' working man,' but have not taken any 
part in the demand for an * eight hours ' day." 

" I, too, had a mother who was left a widow when I was 
only four years old. . . . She devoted all her life to the 
children, of whom I was the youngest. From the time I left 
College the care of her was the main object of my life, and 
well she deserved it. To her I owed everything, and from 
her I believe I inherit the best qualities I possess, . . . She 
often told me of her happiness in the great care which my 
sisters and I bestowed on her." 

"I do not think I could write anything so admirable as 
an account of an old Irish orchard which has enchanted me. 
I expect to have a few old Irish apple-trees in blossom in 
honour of your arrival." 

" When I resign to you the management of the garden it 
will entail on you the responsibility in relation to the birds 
of every kind, including the blackbirds, to say nothing of the 
magpies, which have been very numerous and very busy here 
for some time past." 

" Your precise description of goblins is most valuable, 
because Edmund Burke declared that no one could form a 
clear idea of ghosts or goblins or such beings. So you see 
you have achieved what the great Burke declared could never 
be effected." 

2 A 



" If you had come here last week you would have seen 
plenty of birds in my little demesne, many fine blackbirds 
and thrushes, and numerous robins, of great audacity, as well 
as a variety of miscellaneous small birds. I am glad to say 
that the birds here never migrate, and appear to get on very 
well during the winter, with a little assistance from the house. 
. . . There is a very handsome little squirrel,^ red in colour, 
who pays me a visit regularly, to look after the walnuts in 
the large trees opposite the hall door. Last year he brought 
a younger one with him, and I expect to see them later on." 

" I am very glad you think of taking up the old Irish (or 
Celtic) legends, and there I think I can be of assistance to 
you. The book you mention as out of print is not regarded 
as satisfactory by those competent to judge. ... Of the real 
ancient Irish legends very few have been translated. I will 
endeavour to send you some in print as soon as possible. 
You will, I think, be very much taken with them." 

" I send you by this post a book which contains one of 
the genuine old Irish tales. It is entitled ' 'C-djtj-bo- p|voecli.' 
You will, I think, be struck by some of the descriptive 
portions of it, which are distinctively Celtic. Not many of 
the old tales have been translated into English. Those which 
have been translated have been printed in various journals, 
mostly of a philological character, in France or Germany, 
chiefly intended for specialists, and little known in Great 
Britain or Ireland. I hope, however, to send you more of 
the old tales before long." 

" I am very glad you are giving the book to the artist. 
The other copy (* 'C4jt)-bo-'p|voecl) ') shall go to you as soon 
as possible. You have probably seen the two new pictures 
shortly to be exhibited, the Adoration of the Magi, and a 
subject from the Song of Solomon." ^ 

^ The squirrel was the crest of the Gilberts. Sir Humphrey Gilbert's ship in 
which he sailed round the world in Elizabeth's time was called the Squirrel^ 
which added to Gilbert's interest in the vivacious little animal. 

^ Burne-Jones was much interested in the Irish tale, and in his studio spoke 
to the present writer at length on the Celtic legends and their great riches in 
tempting subjects for the artist. But he confessed that he could not touch these 
subjects, as they would not attract the sympathies of his public. 



" I am so glad you saw the pictures in the Academy so 
conveniently. ... I have always thought the English school 
far below the French in figure painting, which is the branch 
that most interests me." 

" I went, as you desired, to give your love to that black- 
bird, but he was not to be found just then. However, quite 
close to the place there were two very splendid thrushes, who 
sang a magnificent composition of their own in two parts, 
which I am sure they will be happy to repeat for you. The 
bees and the butterflies are now coming about very busily, 
and seemingly satisfied that the fine weather of to-day will 
continue for some time. I have been thinking that perhaps 
the blackbird might have heard that in your ' old Irish 
orchard ' you spoke of his tribe as a thievish set ; ' but you 
also included the thrushes, who do not appear to have been 
offended at the truth." 

"The blackbird was looking for you to-day again." 

" One of the little blue-birds came and perched on a branch 
near a window, and kept staring in for some time, expecting, 
no doubt, to see you ; and when he went off, he left an 
impression that he will call again, when he knows you are at 
home to receive visitors. The united company of birds here 
have grand concerts every evening about seven, and I fancy 
I hear them performing the lullaby from A Midsummer 
Nights Dream — 

*' * Never harm, nor spell, nor charm, 
Come our lovely lady nigh.' " 

" The fairies must have told the birds that you were glad 
to hear about them, for just at the time your letter of yester- 
day, in which you mentioned them, was being despatched 
from London, another grand concert was commenced in the 
trees near your windows, and carried on for about an hour. 
Among the solo performers some blackbirds distinguished 
themselves above all others, inflated, no doubt, with the 
important position you gave to one of their tribe." 



"I have another fairy tale far you, and this time it is 
about trees ; but I think I shall be able to tell it to you with 
much greater effect when you and I are walking together 
under the very trees to which it relates." 

" You say you miss your faery-land ; but perhaps you are 
not aware that the fairies are looking after you. Otherwise 
I could not account for what has been going on in the 
grounds here ever since you mentioned the time when you 
will be over. In the flower-plots under your windows 
numbers of blackbirds and thrushes come every day and strut 
about with unusual confidence and self-assertion, as if they 
were now satisfied that their friend would be soon here to 
cherish them. There are also several beautiful little blue- 
birds and robins making themselves quite at home." 

"You will not, I hope, object to the large collection of 
books : the library contains only a small portion of the 
collection. There is a room which I think you will like to 
have for your writing-room. It is large, lofty, and bright, and 
looks down on plots of flowers with flowering shrubs, and 
tall trees — which will not walk away. ^ . . . I have had a 
way made round the entire grounds, so that you can have a 
quarter of an hour's walk whenever you like, under trees and 

" I had a very pleasant visit from Father Russell yester- 
day. He had not been here for a long time, and was greatly 
interested in many things he saw in the library way." 

From Cardinal Manning to Mrs, J, T, Gilbert. 

" Archbishop's House, Westminster, 

" September i8, 1891. 

" My dear Child, 

" If I had known at the time the happiness on 
which you had entered, I would have sent a blessing to both 
of you, and in November I shall hope to see you. 

^ Alluding to a tale entitled " The Walking Trees," written by his correspondent. 



" I am sorry to hear the reason why you could not keep 
your word to me, and I hope that you have thrown off all 
efifects and reminders of it. 

"And I hold you to your promise about the ghost stories. 
I read those you sent me with much trepidation. But I am 
afraid that your daily cares and commonplaces will make 
you prosaic and earthly. 

" Give my kind regards to Mr. Gilbert, and believe me 
" Very truly yours, 

"Henry E. Card. Manning." 

From the Same, 

" Archbishop's House, Westminster, 

" December i8, 1891. 

"My dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" Your most acceptable gift has reached me safely ; 
and I look forward with great interest to read it this Christmas. 
I have noted the multitude of your works, not only in number, 
but in the solid and original matter. Our history is being 
rewritten ; and also that of the Holy See, witness Pastor's 
two volumes, in which there is no respect of persons, even the 
highest when they fail or fall. 

"With a Christmas blessing to you both, believe me 

" Very truly yours, 

" Henry E. Card. Archbp." 

On May 29, 1891, John T. Gilbert married Rosa 
Mulholland, the second daughter of Dr. Joseph Stevenson 
Mulholland, of Belfast, in the county of Antrim. The old 
home was again full of sunshine, the neglected garden 
bloomed, and green walks and nooks grown desolate looked 
again that expression of sympathy with happy human 
presence which trees, hedges, and leafy lanes can assume. 

iVfter this date the man seemed to grow younger instead 
of older ; the storm and stress of life were over, the clouds 



of misfortune were dispersed, and there remained for him 
sweetness and peace. Friends came to Villa Nova sure of 
a genial welcome, which was more particularly given to those 
who could appreciate the rare treasures of his library and 
his engraved portraits of celebrated men and women ; but 
he loved his Arcadian retirement, and rarely went from home, 
except to the Royal Irish Academy, National Library, Royal 
Dublin Society, or elsewhere, for reasons connected with his 
work, which might be described as never-ceasing but that 
it was relieved by so many cheery intervals of enjoyment, 
odd hours and half-hours of holiday-making, spent in playful 
conversation, or roaming about his garden as gladly as a boy 
let loose from school. 

He had in him the unspoiled freshness of nature which 
is a fount of perpetual youth. The return of spring to the 
green spot he called his " little demesne," the change of 
leaf that irradiated it with autumnal splendour, the flutter 
of the song-birds at his window, looking to him as their 
Providence when the frost threatened them with hunger 
and the wreckage of scarlet holly-berries from which they 
had wrung their last sustenance stained the snow, — all these 
were happenings of the keenest interest to him. 

When deep in his work over some forbidding-looking parch- 
ment, he would suddenly spring up, throw on his cap, call to 
one, always near, to follow, and was away across the lawns, or 
through the dark lime-tree walk, or to the little tarn, formed 
by a stream from the mountain, which cuts its bright way 
through many a mile to run along the foot of the Villa Nova 
meadow towards the sea. In this shady little tarn a water- 
hen and her brood would sometimes be found, sailing on the 
water, or lurking together under the lush grass and ferns on 
one or other of the banks, and in this little feathered family 
he took a lively interest. 

The little demesne contained much variety of feature, 
considering its modest dimensions. From the water-hen's 
haunt he could turn at once into the long walk between 
giant limes, dim and solemn as a cathedral aisle, and 



carpeted with moss, called the Goblin Walk because its 
darkness was in summer pierced with little arrows of sun- 
shine darting about like living things, and was often musical 
with a mysterious orchestra of invisible flies, in pauses of 
the song of thrush and blackbird, or before the noisy 
wrangles of the magpies and squirrels over their provender 
of the walnuts had begun. Through this favourite alley he 
could pass on to what was known as the Orchard Angle, 
where the apples had been, time out of mind, the prey of the 
small boys of the neighbourhood, and where too careful a 
closing of holes in the hedge would have been looked on by 
the depredators as meanness unworthy of a Gilbert. 

I robbed the Villa Nova orchard when I was fifteen," 
said an elderly man, when the old gardener was grumbling. 
" I was brought for it before the Miss Gilberts by the police- 
man. They were only very young themselves, indeed, and 
all they said was, to ask me my catechism ! " This same 
youth of fifteen had drilled with the Fenians in a Wicklow 
glen, and is now a steady industrious father of a family, 
and a prominent helper of all lawful reforms in the neigh- 

In the hay-making season the meadow * afforded much 
amusement to Gilbert, when the long grass began to take the 
colour of the sun, and tentative purchasers would come hover- 
ing about to have a look at it. Gilbert delighted in the 
humours of the situation, and would go out himself to parley 
with the bargainers. 

" Yes, sir, it's gorgeous grass, but it's wake. This is grass, 
now, that would be grand entirely for cows ; but ye see I'm 
a man that has horses ! " 

Thus the first purchaser. But a second had a different 
story — 

" I don't deny, sir, that it's a grass that's good for its own 
purpose ; but it's coarse and strong, and only fit for horses. 
And I must tell ye that my business is cows ! " 

"Well, now, as it's good for neither cows nor horses," said 
Gilbert, " what would you advise me to do with it } " 


"Faith, sir, I think you'd better ate it yourself!" 

Which rather startling counsel only meant that the master 
was at liberty to put his " own bastes on it." 

Though enjoying such humours, he disliked the con- 
ventional representation of the Irishman as a buffoon. Ready 
wit delighted him, and he never lost an opportunity of draw- 
ing it forth. The carman, the gardener, the road-scraper, the 
man with a hod of mortar, all, when they came in his way, 
afforded him entertainment, and he was a favourite with their 
class. But though loving the geniality, he saw behind it the 
shrewd good sense and the keen understanding. To have 
workmen engaged in his house was a treat to Gilbert. 
He was the happier for a chat with the painter or the 
plumber, so that the bursting of a water-pipe at Villa Nova 
was not such an unmitigated calamity as in ordinary house- 

Flowers in the little demesne do not always confine them- 
selves to beds allotted to them, but have been known to 
migrate on the wings of the birds or winds to lawn or 
meadow or bank of stream — an anemone starting a whole 
colony of sky-blue creatures in the spring grass, or a peony 
rising unexpectedly in its crimson where one would not have 
looked for it. Roses form themselves unbidden into hedges. 
" That ould 'mask (damask) bates creation ! " says the ancient 
gardener, whose humours would fill a little book of themselves. 
One of his fancies is connected with a long low mound which 
rises under the shade of a richly dark velvety-branched yew 
tree. The mound is probably caused by the roots of the 
tree, but the old man is convinced that this is the grave of 
Saint Thomas of Villanova, and every spring he watches 
with interest the blooming of a large cluster of tulips which 
nobody ever planted, yet which rise unaccountably, year after 
year, from the foot of the tree, to crown the mossy mound 
with their long delicate cups, tinted with celestial rose-pink. 
The world is so small to this old gardener that the existence 
of Spain is no more to him than a superstition. He cannot 
be induced to believe in two Villa Novas, and holds that it 


is good to live where the saints have trod, and to be near the 
places where they lie ! 

Animals loved Gilbert's companionship, and he was a 
close observer of their habits. Cats, with their mysterious 
ways and solemn looks, amused him. Seeing one of them 
blinking at the fire, apparently rapt in uncanny memories, 
he would say, " Does she not look as if the spirit of some 
wicked enchantress of eld had got a habitation in her?" A 
great old cat, who as a kitten had lived on very familiar 
terms with him (a ball and string lay in his waste-paper 
basket for her occasional amusement), continued to claim 
his attentions long after the duties of mousing had begun 
to occupy her. She would sit at the library fire every 
evening from nine till ten o'clock, when a maid would come 
to seize and dispose of her for the night, treatment at 
which her pride rebelled. Perceiving her chagrin, the master 
thought to save her feelings, and one evening conveyed her 
himself to the servant's care before the hour of forcible arrest 
had arrived. "She's afraid of me, sir," said the maid as 
she received the animal from his arms. " Perhaps she has 
reason," said the master in a tone of mild reproach. Gilbert 
declared that from this time forth the cat watched the clock 
above his desk, and at three minutes to ten, rather than 
disturb him again, she got up and quitted the library with 

But birds attracted his sympathy perhaps more than any 
other of the lower creatures, in their nest-building, provendering, 
and their tuneful wooings and domestic arrangements. He 
was much pleased when one spring a family of young starlings 
was discovered located under the eaves above his bedroom 
window, the discovery being made by the arrival of the 
father starling one morning, with a large worm wriggling 
in his beak, provision for the family breakfast. A ladder 
was put up to the roof, the nest was discovered, and care- 
fully guarded from the observation of cats. A grove of 
evergreens in the grounds was held sacred to the blackbirds 
and thrushes, and, by Gilbert's request, little frequented by 



human intruders, lest the birds should be scared, and cease 
to look on it as their particular stronghold. He would leave 
the breakfast-table to scatter supplies on the grass under a 
window known for hospitality to the feathered friends, and 
would stand behind the curtain to see them enjoy their 
meal undisturbed. A large settlement of magpies, located 
in a group of maples and sycamores, was very interesting 
to him, and when at a certain hour of the morning they 
made a loud clamour, he said they were holding a parliament. 
He admired them strutting about the lawn, feathered courtiers 
in their black velvet coats and snow-white vests and leggings. 
One morning a gold kingfisher appeared perching on a wild- 
rose bramble above the meadow stream, which caused him 
much delight ; but this was only once in a way. 

Next to the birds the squirrels held place in his affections, 
and their arrival in season " to look after the walnuts " of the 
two huge old walnut trees on the lawn always made a little 
sensation in the house. They were even less afraid of the 
master than were the birds, and would sit quite near the hall 
door gnawing their nuts, and laying up the stores which they 
leisurely carried away to deposit in their holes in the more 
distant tree-trunks. Even a mouse was not beneath his 
sympathies. It happened once that a bowl of sugar was 
left in his bedroom at night, and a mouse, having become 
aware of so interesting a fact, was overheard in the small 
hours paying busy attention to it. The bowl was removed, 
but Gilbert was too hospitable to endure the disappointment 
of the tiny creature, and, carefully placing a lump of sugar 
on the spot where the bowl had been, went to bed in pleased 
expectation of the result, nor fell asleep till a sound of 
scraping from the corner of the room assured him that the 
little guest had arrived and was enjoying his supper. No 
one could venture to kill an insect in his presence, and he 
would leave his book to pilot a wasp, out of reach of murderous 
hands, through the open window. 

In the book-room, a smaller overflow library, which was 
in later years the favourite sitting-room of Gilbert and his 



wife, the evenings were usually spent, his chosen seat a great 
armchair, which had a special association of its own, having 
been rescued from the burning of the old family house at 
Brannickstown. Work alternated with playful talk or the 
reading aloud of something imaginative or humorous, as 
different as possible from the historic " document." The 
fiction based on everyday life did not greatly attract him. 
Passing from the search for absolute fact, he loved the play 
of wit, or the speculations of fancy. 

During these latter years, though a great number of his 
early comrades in work had passed away, yet he had very 
many friends, at home and abroad, whose lasting affection 
and regard were prized by him. Among those who came 
and went about the charmed enclosure of the " little demesne " 
of Villa Nova in the years of the nineties, were Lord 
Russell of Killowen, and Judge Mulholland, their wives and 
families, and other relatives of Gilbert's wife ; Father Matthew 
Russell, S.J. ; Dr. George Atkinson and Mrs. Atkinson ; 
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Arnold ; Sir John and Lady Banks ; 
Sir Richard and Lady Martin ; Dr. Samuel R. Gardiner ; 
Mr. and Mrs. John Dillon ; Dr. Brendan MacCarthy ; the 
daughters of Professor W. K. Sullivan ; Mrs. Lyons ; General 
Sir Martin Dillon ; friends indeed far too many to be enu- 
merated. Sunday was Gilbert's holiday, and on the afternoon 
of that day he delighted to welcome all who would under- 
take a long walk to enter at the green jasmine-covered 
wicket, rest under the great walnut trees, and gather round 
the afternoon tea-table. 


I 890-1 897 

Literary Activity — Additions to Library — Books and M anuscripts — Royal 
University of Ireland — Knighthood — Letters. 

He had now, as ever, a number of different undertakings on 
hand at one and the same time : his Reports on the Charle- 
mont Papers, the Ormonde Manuscripts, and others ; the 
inspection of, and preparation of reports upon, various 
manuscripts of Irish historic interest, such as the Franciscan 
Manuscripts, and the Galway Manuscripts. Seven large 
volumes of the Calendar of the Ancient Records of Dublin 
were fruits of his labour in these years, which also produced, in 
a series entitled " Historic Literature of Ireland," four separate 
works : "A Jacobite Narrative of the War in Ireland, i688~ 
1691 " (published 1892), "Documents Relating to Ireland, 
1795-1804" (published 1893), ''Narratives of the Detention, 
Liberation, and Marriage of Maria Clementina Stuart, styled 
Queen of Great Britain and Ireland" (published 1894), and 
"Crede Mihi : the Most Ancient Register Book of the 
Archbishops of Dublin before the Reformation" (published 
1897). The mechanical workmanship, so to speak, of these 
books was done in Dublin. He held it as a principle to 
employ his own people in his native city, and acted on it 
scrupulously through many years. With one exception, all 
his works were printed and published in Dublin, the only 
portions executed in London being the autotype reproduc- 
tions of the rare portraits for which he sought zealously to 
add to the historic completeness of each book. In all cases 
the edition was limited, and issued only to subscribers. A 




portion of the " History of Dublin " in one volume, entitled 
"An Account of the Parliament House, Dublin, with Notices 
of Parliaments held There, 1 661-1800," was published by him 
in 1896. 

For many years he had been gathering materials with a 
view to the publication of a complete work on Irish Biblio- 
graphy, including not only books published in Ireland at all 
times, but also those written and published on the continent 
by Irishmen during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 
Beginning this work in 1896-7, he read papers^ on Irish 
Bibliography before the Royal Irish Academy, indicating the 
motive and plan of an undertaking which he did not live to 
carry out 

Though so full of work, he never seemed overwhelmed 
with business. " My work is my pleasure," he would say. 
His wonderfully clear and accurate memory, his extraordinary 
eyesight which never became impaired, his vivid interest in 
each fresh undertaking, his calm, equable temperament and 
sunny good-humour, all contributed to make his labours 
appear to others as well as to himself no more than con- 
genial occupation for his powerful energies. He had no hard- 
and-fast rules for work. If the weather were fine, he was 
ready to enjoy the open air and the sunshine, but he did not 
love to move very far from home, liking to be within easy 
reach of libraries, printers, and documents. His last visit to 
England was in 1891, when he stayed with his wife in the 
house of her brother-in-law. Sir Charles Russell, afterwards 
Lord Russell of Killowen. After that there was an occasional 
week spent with his wife in the lovely neighbourhood of 
Rostrevor, County Down, and now and again a day at Carton 
with the Duke of Leinster, or at Kilkenny Castle. For the 
rest his time was passed between his house of Villa Nova and 
his various places of interest in Dublin : the Royal Irish 
Academy, of which he was vice-president and honorary 

^ These papers, accompanied by facsimiles of a few of the old title-pages 
with which the projected book was to have been illustrated, have been printed in 
the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy ; the papers will be found in the 
Appendix of the present volume. 



librarian, having the responsible care of the valuable books 
and ancient manuscripts deposited in the library, as well as 
the congenial office of selecting and purchasing additions to 
the collection ; the National Library, of which he was one 
of the four trustees ; the National Gallery, in which he took 
a keen interest as one of its governors ; and the Royal 
Hibernian Academy of Arts, connected with which he held 
an honorary professorship. 

A great disappointment to him was the continued refusal 
of Government to complete the publication of the Chartularies 
of the two great Abbeys of Dublin. In 1884 "St. Mary's 
Abbey," in two volumes, had been published in the Master of 
the Rolls' Series, or " Chronicles and Memorials of Great 
Britain and Ireland," and the " Abbey of St. Thomas " was 
prepared by Gilbert to follow and complete a unique and 
important Record ; but the grant for Ireland having been 
withdrawn, he had the mortification of seeing the fruit of his 
labour and desire remaining unused, as it is at the present 
moment, completed and ready for the press. 

To the last, one of his deepest interests centred in the 
Royal Irish Academy, in the councils of which he had held 
an important position through long years, and where he had 
many friends. On two occasions during these latter years he 
put aside a proposal to elect him as President of the Royal 
Irish Academy, preferring his post as honorary librarian, for 
its intimate connection with the books and manuscripts, and 
the greater leisure it afforded him to pursue his own ideal 
labours. His solicitude for the maintenance of a national 
Irish character in the Institution, for the development, through 
its instrumentality, of a true knowledge and appreciation of 
the treasure of ancient Irish writings preserved therein as 
foundation for a noble Irish literature in the future, never 
flagged till his very latest moment. He deplored the fact 
that some of his friends deviated from the intention of Lord 
Charlemont by substituting largely the pursuit of general 
science for more national aims and objects. In this he had, 
happily, some sympathizers and followers, men who still live 



and strive to uphold the main original purpose of the illustrious 
founder of the Institution. 

The continual addition to his own library was another 
source of enjoyment, and many a volume travelled from 
Quaritchand other London booksellers to Villa Nova, merely 
for his inspection with option to purchase. His choice was 
made with a view to his work ; he was ever on the watch for 
manuscripts or rare books which might contain something 
helpful to research, and the numerous book-catalogues in 
various languages dropped into his letter-box morning and 
evening were carefully scanned and marked with his pencil 
on the moment of arrival. Even in his boyhood he had 
begun to collect books. A note remains written by him at 
the age of nineteen, asking a friend to come and look at 
two hundred volumes which he intended sending to Jones, 
the auctioneer, for the purpose of making room for others. 

Having persevered through so many years in his efforts 
to secure manuscripts relating to Ireland for the purposes 
of his own research and historical work, his library, now in 
possession of the Corporation of Dublin, contains a large 
number of manuscripts of importance, collected with care 
and discrimination, and forming valuable materials for future 
historians of the three kingdoms, and especially of writers of 
the histories of Dublin and of Ireland. In like manner his 
collection of books was made after great reading and per- 
sistent research, his prime object being to bring together the 
works of Irishmen printed in Dublin or on the Continent ; 
thus accumulating a treasure of national lore in writing and 
in print. Indeed, the special collection, in which he had 
the dearest interest, included those works of Irishmen who, 
while living in enforced exile, wrote contemporary history, 
often in the Latin language, and under curious titles, to 
escape the eye of the enemy, at a period when it was asserted 
and believed that Irishmen were in a state of savagery, 
incapable of education and unworthy of being treated as 
human beings. 

Though the portion of his library which he valued most 



highly consisted of the books and manuscripts bearing on 
the historical work he had so deeply at heart, yet it con- 
tained very many noble works of general literature ; a large 
number of the latter showing, indeed, on examination, some 
connecting-link with Ireland. His choicest copy of Milton 
was a unique edition in rare and beautiful binding of Dublin 
eighteenth-century workmanship,^ and Lodge's " Portraits " 
contains the pictured presentments of Irishmen or of men 
whose fortunes were associated with the Irish at home or 

As his library accommodation was not unlimited, ex- 
changes had occasionally to be made. It would be difficult 
to guess the number of the books which, during upwards of 
fifty years, must have passed into his possession, besides 
those which remained to the last on his library shelves. Con- 
sidering his moderate financial resources, his expenditure on 
books and manuscripts was enormous. Comparatively few 
books were bought for mere pride of possession. Every one 
was carefully read by him, and many will be found marked 
with his pencil throughout in the neat, graceful writing which 
illuminated, but never disfigured, the pages ; or with slips of 
pencilled paper between the leaves, valuable comment, or 
added information for the student who may follow on his 
lead through the volume. His memory of what he read was 
unfailing, and he could at any moment put his hand on a 
book and turn to a passage that might be wanted. A learned 
friend says, "It was a pleasure to see him in a muniment- 
room or a choice library ; his very manner of handling a 
volume showed the joy of the genuine book-lover." 

Among his private papers and manuscripts remain a 
large number of note-books, and special collections which 
were begun at a very early period of his literary life, his 
habit being to take notes from every available source, and 
afterwards to use them as occasion arose. These note-books 
are filled with materials gathered in the course of his busy 

* Exhibited with other choice bindings from the Gilbert Library at the Arts 
and Crafts Exhibitions of 1895 and 1899. 



life from the libraries of Ireland, England, and the Conti- 
nent : notably Trinity College, Royal Irish Academy, Royal 
Dublin Society, Marsh's, King's Inns, and Record Office, 
Dublin ; British Museum, Lambeth, and Record Office, 
London ; Bodleian Library, Oxford, Cambridge, and the 
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. In a word, wherever infor- 
mation was to be found concerning Ireland he spared no 
pains, no means, to get access to and obtain it. 

Even before his nineteenth year, when Samuel Bindon, 
antiquarian of Limerick, wrote to him, " I regard your dis- 
covery of Preston's portrait as a very precious find," he 
was zealous in searching for the portraits of Irishmen or of 
notable persons connected with Ireland, and from time to 
time added to his store specimens in line or mezzotint by 
celebrated engravers who were Irishmen by birth, his idea 
in this being to form a collection which would represent a 
history of engraving in Ireland. To these were added im- 
pressions of rare old prints of ancient buildings of Dublin 
no more to be seen, and of scenery in and around the city, 
keeping in mind their value as illustrating various periods of 
our social and political life, and using them to enhance the 
value of his historical works. His collection in this kind 
includes some sketches, and even woodcuts, treasured merely 
as preserving features of which, presumably, in the course of 
time, no other presentment would be found. He watched 
the sales' catalogues for records of this nature as well as for 
books and manuscripts. One evening he found in such a 
list the announcement, as for sale, of an original portrait 
of Robert Emmet. Gilbert telegraphed to the advertiser 
instantly, and the portrait came to his hands with a note 
from the bookseller, saying, " I see you have got something 
remarkable, for your telegram was followed by others from 
different quarters, and also many letters inquiring about the 

This drawing of Robert Emmet is distinguished by its 
interesting unlikeness to the large, heavy man of middle age, 
commonly taken to represent the youthful patriot, whose 



conntenance was invented from the plaster cast made after 
the young hero's execution. The sketch secured by Gilbert 
is in pencil touched with colour, a delicate vignette of head 
and shoulders, showing a youthful face with an expression 
of almost petulance, though the loose, impatient lock of fair 
hair hangs over strong and thoughtful brows. Gilbert made 
efforts to trace the origin and history of the portrait, which 
is signed with the initials " A. Robertson " in the corner ; 
and with the object of ascertaining whether or not the artist 
was the well-known miniature painter, Andrew Robertson, 
popular in London about the year 1797, he entered into 
correspondence on the subject with the daughter of the 
painter, Miss Emily Robertson. Gilbert thought it probable 
that Emmet had sat for the sketch when in London on his 
way to or from the prison of Thomas Addis Emmet, whom 
he visited during the period of his confinement. Miss Robert- 
son, however, thought she had reasons for believing that the 
portrait was not the work of her father. 

During the course of these years of the nineties two 
compliments were publicly paid to Gilbert, intended as a 
recognition of his lifelong labours, and their object and 
results. The Royal University conferred on him their 
honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (1892), and he was 
knighted by the then Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Cadogan 
(1897). Though gratified by these marks of favour, Gilbert 
placed little value on personal honours. His mind was ever 
fixed on his own high ideal, his only desire being the accom- 
plishment of as much work for his country as was possible 
to him while life remained — a desire to which Providence 
accorded a generous fulfilment. 

From Dr. S, R. Gardiner. 

" South View, Widmore Road, Bromley, Kent, 

"August I, 1890. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" It will give us both great pleasure to see some- 
thing of you ; and we readily accept your hospitality, though 



our mode of travelling prevents us from bringing with us 
dress-clothes. We hope to cross by the mail which arrives 
at Kingstown at 5.3 on Thursday morning, and will take the 
next train on. 

" Believe me, yours sincerely, 

"Samuel R. Gardiner." 

From Right Rev, Mgr. Bernard O'Reilly, 

"Paris, 3 rue des Bassins, May 19, 1890. 
" Do you still propose to publish a translation of the 
Rinuccini Papers ? They would be a most welcome and 
timely contribution to the national history. I still fancy I 
can see the bound volumes of the precious manuscript where 
you showed them to me amid all your other treasures at 
Villa Nova. 

" May the fates be propitious to you, and spare you 
length of days, strength of body, peace of mind, and that 
contentment of heart you so richly deserve after a life wholly 
devoted to the service of Erin ! 

" My sister (Mrs. White) and myself often speak of you, 
and your angelic sister now with God, — as we saw you on 
the day so well remembered. ... I am afraid our chances of 
ever again visiting Ireland are very small. Who knows but 
some good fortune will send you to New York ? The Greater 
Ireland has good reason to honour, admire, and love you. 
And you would not be among strangers in the metropolis of 
the New World. 

" At all events, you must count both of us among your 
devoted friends whom time and distance cannot separate 
from you." 

From Denny Lane, 

" Cork, February 12, 1892. 

"My dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" A friend of mine has got into great archaeological 
trouble. He is a sea-captain, and some time since his vessel 



had a cargo for Fowey in Cornwall. While examining the 
place he found that the church, a very old one, was dedicated 
to St. Finn Barr. Whereat he was much moved, and, only 
that he is a religious man, would have exclaimed of that good 
patron saint of Cork, * Que diable veut-il dans cette galere ?' 

" Could you or any of your learned colleagues find out if 
Saint Finn Barr was ever in Cornwall ? 

" Some time since I had a Latin life of the saint edited 
by my friend Caulfield, but I cannot find it. 

With kind regards, I remain truly yours, 

"Denny Lane." 

From Lord Power scour L 

" Powerscourt, Enniskerry, 

'* February 26, 1892. 

"My dear Gilbert, 

" I know you take a great interest in the National 
Gallery, and therefore will feel very much the loss of our 
friend, Henry Doyle. I felt it most keenly, as an old friend, 
as well as in his capacity as Director. We have now to con- 
sider his successor. ... I am afraid we shall never get the equal 
of Henry Doyle. I think we do not want a painter, as such, 
but an expert in pictures. Lawless knows art well, has 
studied it at Rome and elsewhere, knows a good deal about 
old pictures, has great opportunities, from his familiarity with 
society in London, for gaining information as to sales, etc., 
and also of obtaining donations, speaks German, French, and 
Italian fluently, knows all the first people at Rome, and such 
people as the Dufiferins, etc., our ambassadors at foreign 
courts, and would be a welcome person in classes where he 
would have every chance of getting works for the Gallery 
which would not be sold through dealers. 

" What do you think ? It is proposed, I believe, to have 
a meeting of the Governors at the Gallery on Thursday week, 
March 10, at 3 p.m., to elect. Lord Zetland told me it is for 



the Governors to elect, and he confirms the decision. ... I 
think if we could get Lawless we should do well. 

" Yours ver)^ sincerely, 


Frojii Dr. S. R. Gardiner. 

"March lo, 1892. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

May I add two particular queries to my general 
one sent the other day } 

"Warner (ii. 451) says that Ormond's treaty with O'Neill 
was brought to nothing by the refusal of the commissioners 
of trust to accept O'Neill's terms. In the same page he 
speaks of Sir C. Coote's profession that he would desert 
Parliament if it wronged the King. 

" Can you tell me on what evidence these two statements 
are based ? Warner gives, of course, no references whatever. 
" Believe me, yours sincerely, 

"Samuel R. Gardiner." 

On the back of this letter is Gilbert's pencilled note — 
" See * Hist. Confederation,' vii. p. 121. 
" * Contemp. Hist.,' vol. ii. p. 300. 
** Preface, p. xxxv." 

From tJic Same. 

"June 14, 1892. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" Thank you for your information. I had not 
heard of the Municipal Records, and will ask for them at the 

" I expect I shall run over some day in August to look at 
Drogheda, and will then ask you if you know any one there 
to guide me about. 

" Yours sincerely, 

"Samuel R. Gardiner." 



From the Same. 

" Holyhead, August i, 1892. 

*'My dear Mr. Gilbert, 

"I have delayed my thanks to you for *Teero- 
ghan ' till I could give some account of my arrangements. 
You see I am approaching Ireland. Mrs. Gardiner and I 
had thought of coming over with the tricycle again, but we 
have so little time that I think it will end in my coming alone 
for two or three days to see Rathmines and Drogheda. 

If so, I shall be very pleased to accept your hospitality, 
and to have the pleasure of talking with you. I cannot yet 
tell the time, but it will probably be between the 15 th and 
the 24th. 

" Believe me, yours sincerely, 

"Samuel R. Gardiner." 

From the Same. 

" October 6, 1892. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" Can you tell me anything of Johnston's * History 
of Drogheda'.? A passage is quoted in Moran's 'Life of 
Plunket.' It is not very accurate, but it contains a statement 
that Cromwell tried to blow up St. Peter's by introducing 
powder into a subterranean passage. This agrees fairly with 
a statement in a pamphlet by Dr. Bernard, which I have 
seen, and is important as bearing on the correctness of 
Thomas Wood's story. I cannot find Johnston's book in the 
Museum library. It would be useful to know when it was 
written, and whether the author had knowledge of the con- 
struction of the original St. Peter's. Perhaps Moran did not 
spell his name rightly. If you know the book, and can give 
me the author's Christian name and date, it might help me 
to trace it. Can you also tell me where Murphy got his map 
of Drogheda ? I suspect he cooked it. It looks like a modern 
map with a town wall stuck in. 

" Pray remember me to Mrs. Gilbert. 

" Believe me, yours sincerely, 

" Samuel R. Gardiner." 



From Sidney Webb. 

" ii6, Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, 

"July 29, 1892. 

"Dear Dr. Gilbert, 

" Farrell, who was Chief Constable of Dublin, 
gave evidence before the Select Committee on Artisans and 
Machinery, in 1824, that fifteen or sixteen trades in Dublin 
formed the Board of Green Cloth, a general union which 
administered secret oaths, and intimidated men and masters. 
This is what I mentioned to you. If anything should occur 
to you in connection with the enigmatical 'Board,' would 
you kindly jot it down for me ? 

"Yours truly, 

" Sidney Webb." 

From Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, 

" Leigh House, Bradford-on-Avon, 

"August 8, 1892. 

"Dear Dr. John Gilbert, 

" I am much obliged for your kind reply to my 
letter. What the late W. W. H. Hardinge wrote is familiar 
to me. His work is most valuable and accurate. I notice 
that on some points his views and those of Sir T. Larcom, 
in the notes to his edition of the * Down Survey,' are not 
identical in regard to the relations of the *Grosse,' to the 
* Civill,' and the * Down ' surveys. 

" On the whole, W. Hardinge's views would seem to be 
the more correct, as far as I can make out. 

" In the British Museum I have found the manuscript of 
the 'Speculum Hibernise,' written very late in life (1686) by 
Petty. The notes of it are at Bowood, and a rough draft. 
I believe this has never been published. 

" In regard to the report to the Irish Council on the 
Down Survey, there are, at Bowood, two manuscripts — 
I. * An Account of the Contract for surveying the Common- 
wealth Lands in Ireland.' (This is complete, though I think 



only a draft.) 2. 'An Account of the Distribution.* It 
begins, ' When the rebellion of Ireland was appeased/ and 
ends, * 24. Whether the agents shall be sent for.' (This is 
the last of a series of queries numbered i to 24.) This 
also is a draft only, a good deal corrected, and, I think, 

" I have made very good progress with my work, and 
hope to bring it out (D.V.) in 1894. 

" I am, dear Dr. Gilbert, 

Yours truly, 

" Edmond Fitzmaurice." 

From Sir E. Maunde Thompson. 

"British Museum, London, October 31, 1892. 

"My dear Gilbert, 

" Many thanks for the paper. I always rejoice to 
hear of your welfare, and congratulate you heartily on your 
new honours. 

" Yours sincerely, 

" E. Maunde Thompson." 

From J, J. Cartwright, 

"Rolls House, London, October 31, 1892. 

"Dear Dr. Gilbert, 

" I write to offer my heartiest congratulations on 
the distinguished honours conferred upon you by the Royal 
University of Ireland, the particulars of which I have been 
reading in the Irish Times received from you this morning. 
Mr. Maxwell Lyte is still abroad, otherwise he would, I am 
sure, join with me in these felicitations ; and the Manuscripts 
Commissioners generally will also be gratified with the mark 
of distinction given to one who has worked with them so long 
and so faithfully. 

" I remain, always yours truly, 

"J. J. Cartwright." 



Fro77z Lord Arthtir Butler. 

"21, Park Lane, London, October 31, 1892. 

"Dear Dr. Gilbert, 

" I was so glad to see an account of the honours 
which have been bestowed on you — the LL.D. degree, and 
the seat in the Senate. I am so glad to be able to con- 
gratulate you most heartily on your well-earned distinctions, 
which, I am sure, cannot but be sources of satisfaction to 

" Yours very truly, 

" Arthur Butler." 

From Sidney Lee, LL,D. 

" ' Dictionary of National Biography,' 

" 15, Waterloo Place, London, 

"November i, 1892. 

"Dear Dr. Gilbert, 

"Permit me to offer you my very warm con- 
gratulations on the honour which has been so deservedly 
awarded to you. 

" Yours very truly, 

" Sidney Lee." 

From Rev, W, D. Macray, LL.D, 

" Ducklington Rectory, Witney, 

" November 2, 1892. 

"My dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" I congratulate you most heartily on the so well 
deserved recognition of your long work on the national 
history of Ireland by the Royal University of Ireland. 
There can only be one opinion of its being a worthy distinc- 
tion worthily gained. It is well that there are still some few 
Irish matters on which all can be of one mind ! I mentioned 
it yesterday to Dr. S. R. Gardiner in the Bodleian Library, 



on his telling me that he had written to you to ask whether 
you knew of any early drawing or engraving of Drogheda, 
and that you could not tell him of any. I presumptuously 
thought that perhaps I might find one, haply unknown to 
you, in the Transactions of the Kilkenny, alias Irish His- 
torical Society, and so last night I looked through my set. 
But to-day I have had humbly to confess that it was vain to 
find something unknown to you in Ireland. 

" Believe me, yours sincerely, 

"W. D. Macray." 

From Dr. S. R, Gardiner, 

" November, 20, 1892. 
" I am much obliged to you for your information about 
Johnston's * History of Drogheda.' Can you tell me the 
proper title of a book which the librarian of the Irish Society 
of Antiquaries (is that the right name ?) produced when I 
was with you, and wanted to know where Teeroghan was } 
It seemed to be an index to the six-inch map in which all 
parishes in Ireland were set down, with a reference to a sheet 
of the Ordnance Map, They do not know anything at the 
British Museum." 

From the Same, 

" December, 1893. 
" I have been making great use of your * Documents 
relating to Ireland ' in writing my account of the early stages 
of the Kilkenny Confederation, and have, of course, fully 
acknowledged the value of the collection. I hope to have 
my first volume out in the beginning of July, and I trust that 
you will allow me to send you a copy. It will include the 
chapters on the Ulster Plantation. Will you kindly point 
out any mistakes that you may find in it? If you are in 
London next month, could you come here one evening ? " 



From J , T. Gilbert to Chief Baron Palles, 

" Villa Nova, Blackrock, Co. Dublin. 

"My dear Lord, 

" The book about which you inquire is the fifth 
volume of the ' Calendar of Ancient Records of Dublin,' 
published in 1895 by Messrs. Dollard. I have asked them 
to send you a copy of that volume. 

"You will see mention of Christopher Palles at pp. 21, 
477, and 489. If you know of any other matters in connection 
with him, perhaps you will kindly let me know. The records 
in the above volume throw new light on the history of the 
Catholics in the time of James II. 

" Your Lordship's very faithfully, 

"J. T. Gilbert." 

From Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, 

" Leigh House, Bradford-on-Avon, 

" September 17, 1894. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" I wonder if you could give me assistance on the 
two following points connected with my * Life of Sir William 
Petty.' It so oddly happens that I cannot find out the date 
of the birth of his eldest surviving son Charles. It is not 
given in any Peerage, as far, at least, as I can make out, and 
my aunt, Lady Louisa Howard, who is a great genealogist, 
has never been able to ascertain it. Some of his children 
who were born in Ireland seem to have been baptized in 
St. Bride's Church ; but whether this child, Charles, was 
born in Ireland or in England I do not know. 

" (2) I have found a curious letter from Sir William Petty 
showing how frequently in the seventeenth century the passage 
of the Irish Channel was rendered difficult by Algerine and 
Barbary corsairs. Now, I have some idea that as late as 
quite the end of the last century some town on the south 


coast of Ireland, Dungarvan or Baltimore, was plundered 
by them, they being plundered by one Hacket, who was 
subsequently caught and hanged ; also that Moore wrote a 
poem on the subject. But I cannot find the poem. Now, 
do you recollect anything on this point ? I seem almost 
to recollect the refrain of the poem — 

" 'Hacket of Dungarvan who piloted the Moor,' 

and I want to mention the fact, if I am right, in an illustrative 

" I would be most grateful for any mention you can afford 
me from your great knowledge of everything connected with 
Ireland on either of the above subjects. 
" I am, dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" Yours very truly, 

" Edmond Fitzmaurice." 

From Dr, J, A, Scott, 

" I, Earlsfort Place, Dublin, 

" November 8, 1894. 

"Dear Dr. Gilbert, 

" Very greatly do I appreciate your kind re- 
membrance, and the generous and splendid gift of your 
most valuable * Narrative.' The * New Light on Old History ' 
is most deeply interesting, and adds brilliantly to the rich 
and abundant * material ' that your enormous industry and 
genius and honesty and delicacy of research and handling 
have given, not alone to Ireland, but all the countries interested 
in our past. 

" You will have perceived that my son James, to whom I 
gave the volume for review, in yesterday's Irish Times said a 
word of it, which I trust did not in any way err. 

" Believe me, ever yours sincerely, 

"J. A. Scott." 



From Rev. Reginald Walsk, O.P. 

" S. Marys, Tallaght, February 22. 

"Dear Sir, 

** I take the liberty of addressing you for the 
following reason. I am engaged in collecting materials for 
an account of the Dominicans who died for the faith in 
Ireland during the penal times. In the research I naturally 
experience some difficulty, and know of none so courteous 
and so able to extricate me as the author of the * Wars of 1641,' 
etc., etc. Our fathers had a good deal to do with Rinuccini. 
I have found notices of priests in the Record Office, Four 
Courts, and got materials for my sketch from De Burgo, 
O'Daly, O.P., and from Luke Wadding, O.S.F. 

" Father Meehan, in his * Geraldines,' gives the list of those 
whom I am trying to collect an account of. Some suffered 
in Dublin. I have seen 'Dominicans' in the index of your 
own work. Can you put me on the track, and tell me where 
I may look for the knowledge I seek } I will undertake any 
labour, and I have some skill in reading manuscripts, as 
in Rome I was employed by the Pope for his edition of 
S. Thomas. 

** I remain, respectfully yours, 

" Reginald Walsh, O.P." 

From Mrs. Burr ell. 

" 12, Prince's Gardens, London, S.W., 

"July 20, 1895. 

"Dear Mr. Gilbert, 

" It has touched me very much that you re- 
collected our conversation long ago about the name of 
* Clementina ' getting into the Drummond family, and through 
them to the Willoughbys and to my eldest son, all from the 
adherence of the Drummonds to the Stuarts ; and then you 
gave me so graphic an account of the manuscript and its 
contents, and of Clementina's flight, that when I opened 



your beautiful book (which my dear father^ transmitted to 
me so that it arrived on my birthday), I quite felt like meet- 
ing an old friend ! Thank you a thousand times for thinking 
of me and sending it to me. I assure you it has gratified 
me very much. I have often intended to ask you and Mrs. 
Gilbert not to forget us if you come to London and have 
time to spare to visit us ; but our time here is always so 
short. ... I do not know what has become of our friend 
the 'Drummond Missal' (you remember you got an Irish 
alphabet for me, and the Baroness Willoughby de Eresby 
used to keep it with the Missal). 

"I have much to tell you that would interest you, but 
must send these words of gratitude off to-day. And with 
kind regards to Mrs. Gilbert, 

" I remain, always sincerely yours, 

"Mary Burrell." 

From the Earl of Dufferin and Ava, 

" Clandeboye, Co. Down, April 22, 1897. 

"My dear Sir John, 

" I cannot say how very grateful I am to you 
for your most considerate thought in sending me a copy of 
the last records of the Privy Council of Ireland. The refer- 
ences to Clandeboye are extremely interesting, and the 
volume has arrived most opportunely, as I am endeavouring 
to draw as accurate a picture as I can of this district at the 
time of its settlement by the first Lord Clandeboye. I only 
hope that some of these days I may have an opportunity of 
thanking you in person for your courtesy. 
" Believe me, 

" Yours sincerely, 

"Dufferin and Ava." 

^ Sir John Banks, K.C.B., M.D., D.L. 



From Mrs. O'Neill. 

"176, New King's Road, Fulham, London, 

" May 6, 1897. 

"Dear Sir, 

"In the Freemaris Joiwnal there is an account of 
the meeting of the Royal Irish Academy, where you so kindly 
mentioned Mr. Henry O'Neill's work on the ' Irish Crosses,' 
and the assistance I gave him. Only for my exertions he could 
not, through illness, have brought out his last three books, 
as I had to support the family for years. I am now sixty- 
six, and yours is the first public recognition of his struggles 
for the good of his country I have heard of in all these years, 
and I feel deeply touched. 

" Dr. Fraser said the work was not reliable. I have the 
rubbings of the crosses still to show they are correct. The 
lithographs were compared with photographs at South Ken- 
sington, and proved to be correct. Mr. O'Neill was most 
particular in all his drawings. To show you the party he 
had against him — when I took a copy of the * Fine Arts ' 
to Sir William Wilde, he said, he. Dr. William Stokes, and a 
number of other Academicians, had made up their minds not 
to buy the book ; but as he was * always gallant to the 
ladies,' he took one from me. 

" Showing what my poor husband had to contend with 
when he died, I told Sir Bernard Burke, who said, * Oh, how 
cruelly they have treated Mr. O'Neill ! ' What should I have 
done only for Sir Bernard Burke at that sad time } 

" Thanking you very much for your kind words, 
" I remain, dear sir, 

" Yours gratefully, 

"Juliet O'Neill.'* 



Death — Some Traits and Characteristics — Letters. 

A FEW days before his death, as he felt slightly unwell, his 
physician made a thorough examination, and pronounced 
him in sound health, needing only plenty of fresh air and 
exercise. The weather was perfect ; a little trip to Donegal 
was planned by him and his wife. On the Sunday before 
his death, friends came to Villa Nova in the afternoon ; 
Gilbert was in high spirits, and it was remarked that he 
looked well and young. On Monday ^ he and his wife spent 
an hour out-of-doors within their place, enjoying the beauty 
of the brilliant May morning; sunshine, delightful verdure, 
flowers in early bloom, made the little demesne a paradise. 
Gilbert and his wife lingered in one favourite haunt after 
another, rejoicing together and thanking God for their happi- 
ness. He stood under a laburnum tree with his head in the 
gold, and said, " Is it not beautiful ? " Roses already hung 
in clusters about the door. " This bush has too many buds," 
he said ; and they stood together and picked some away. 
After lunch he prepared to go to Dublin to attend a meeting 
of the Council of the Royal Irish Academy. His wife wished 
to accompany him, but as she had been suffering from a 
cold, he would not allow her to leave home. She tried to 
persuade him to put off his visit to town till the next day, 
when she might be with him. " No," he said, " I must be at 
the meeting of the Council ; you shall come the next time." 
She helped him to dress while they chatted and laughed 

1 May 23, 1898. 



together, and after a tender parting he walked away from 
her at the door, his last look at his home thrown backward 
to his wife across the roses. He went out of the garden 
wicket, which had known his passing for fifty years — as a 
youth of nineteen, as a man till the age of sixty-nine, — and 
he saw his home no more. A friend, speaking with him as 
he walked down Merrion Avenue, thought him looking 
exceedingly well, and as usual felt the influence of his sweet 
and genial humour. 


He died of sudden failure of the heart on the way to 
Dublin. There was no struggle, no suffering for him ; no 
cause for spiritual dread in the souls of those who loved him. 
Sudden and unlooked-for as came the summons, he was 
ready. No more pure and noble spirit ever answered to 
the call of his Maker. 

About his "book-room" as he left it on that last May 
day, there lay portions of the works, in manuscript or in 
proof, which had engaged him at the moment : the Ormonde 
Papers (Historical Manuscripts Commission), the Calendar of 
the Dublin Records, and the slips of printed matter for 
' Selections (shortened) from the History of Dublin,' then in 
the press, and published in 1903 ; by his desk the pen, on 
which the ink was scarcely dry when the hand that had 
taken it up that morning with his usual calm eagerness was 
stilled for ever. 


In summing up the character of one whose qualities and 
personality made a whole so rare, the biographer has no 
ordinary difficulty. The story of the man and his career 
records an iron determination which overcame obstacles seem- 
ingly insurmountable, a prudence and judicial power which 
bridled and used a dominant passion for the highest pur- 
poses, a calm spirit of abnegation which put self behind and 
the cause at heart to the front, and a devotion to his aim 
which spared no labour and counted no personal cost. If 
genius be "an infinite capacity for taking pains," then on 

2 c 



this score alone he must be credited with a large genius. 
The calm judicial character of his mind was felt by all who 
were concerned with him in the affairs, ordinary or extra- 
ordinary, of life. " You would have made a splendid lawyer," 
Lord Russell of Killowen said to him on one occasion, after 
a long conversation with him on a knotty point. Yet with 
these strenuous faculties for work always employed, he had 
a curious natural facility, a surprising ingenuity, for making 
those around him happy. There was no grind in his 
machinery to vex the eye and ear with dust and noise ; 
the wheel turned without sound, the shuttle moved unseen. 
The nature was so big there seemed to be room in it for all 
things great and little to move together in harmony, and the 
peace-restoring atmosphere which surrounded him in daily life 
had a mesmeric influence over more restless organizations. 

One of the most tolerant of men, his dislike of " scamped " 
or inaccurate work amounted to intolerance, and superficial 
productions on serious subjects, especially those connected 
with history, were offensive to him. He could not sympa- 
thize with authors who would not take pains, and who 
unscrupulously increased the number, already too great, of 
misleading records. 

Restrained by the reticence of a deep and sensitive nature, 
he was not given to pouring out his thoughts to correspon- 
dents, and his words were few when he was most strongly 
moved ; neither did he allow himself leisure for writings 
unconnected with the work which was the subject of most 
letters written by him ; such letters being largely in reply 
to demands for information, sure to be generously supplied 
wherever he discerned earnestness of purpose or ability in 
the applicant. That he could supply material ready made 
on the basis of research to every one ambitious of doing a 
little writing, more or less historically true, was hardly to 
be expected, and yet the demands for such service from him 
were almost incessant. He used to tell with glee of a man 
who sat beside him at a public dinner in London, who said 
to him wistfully, " I think I should like to write a history." 



"Of what country, for what people would you wish to 
undertake the task ? " asked Gilbert. 

The aspirant for the laurels of the historian paused 
meditatively. " I'm sure I don't know," he said at last, with 
reluctant frankness. 

The letters from his correspondents show how eagerly 
and confidently his help was sought by serious contemporary 
fellow-workers, and how liberally it was given ; but the 
biographer has failed to recover the answers which bestowed 
what the correspondents had asked for. On the day but 
one before his death he spent the best hours of the morning 
in collating material to send to France in compliance with 
the request of a certain French archivist. His wife expressed 
regret at his undertaking such tasks while he had so many 
fatiguing works of his own on hands. " Well," he said, " this 
is a man worth helping." "At least," she urged, "do not 
hurry about it." " Oh," he answered, smiling, " it is gone by 
the midday post ! " 

An estimate of his character would not be complete 
without indication of the simple innate modesty which ever 
underlay his confidence in his own power and consciousness 
of the value of his work, and which harmonized so well with 
the dignity of his character. This modesty showed itself 
most noticeably in his intercourse with those who served 
him or came into close contact with him. " I am immeasur- 
ably inferior to you in intellect and spirit," he wrote to one 
who was dear to him, and whom he therefore unduly glorified. 
" He was meek and humble," said a man who had been for 
long years accustomed to do his bidding. Ignoring the 
unusual personal attractions which others saw and felt to 
be his, he could write — 

"Nature gave me what I value more than externals — a 
true and sensitive heart, and a strong faculty to appreciate 
high and noble qualities." 

Though reserved on so profound a subject, he had a deep 
sense of religion, and a thorough reliance on Providence. 
" Do not repine," he said to one in sorrow. " Depend on it, 



Providence orders all things for the best. Everything ends 
well." He loved privacy in daily prayer, saying, " I would 
rather not let any one see what passes between me and my 
Creator." The Lord's Prayer was his favourite prayer, and 
the spiritual book of his choice was the " Imitation of Christ," 
by Thomas a Kempis. Of St. James's words, "Religion 
clean and undefiled before God and the Father, is this : to 
visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation : and to keep 
one's self unspotted from this world," he once remarked, in 
that playful way of his which often sought to cover the 
deepest feeling, " I think no definition could beat that ! " 

He took with him out of the world the faith to which he 
was born, and persisted, unostentatiously and with charac- 
teristic reserve, in the spiritual practices which he had learned 
at his mother's knee. " It is a tremendous thing to me to 
receive my God," he said to one who shared his most sacred 
thoughts ; yet despite this keen sense of reverential awe, 
sprung from an unusually vivid power of realizing an idea, he 
fulfilled all the difficult duties of his religion with childlike 
fidelity. Of the truth of the dogmas of Catholicity he had 
thorough conviction. A friend having on one occasion 
pointed to blots on certain pages of the history of the 
Church, observing that they might be held accountable for 
deviations from her paths, he laid down his book on his knee, 
and, after a few moments' reflection, he remarked impres- 
sively, " There is no excuse to be made for the confounding 
of two things : the blunders, or even crimes of men, and the 
doctrines of religion." Speaking of the spirit of unbelief, so 
largely abroad, he said, " Believe me, it is a disease in men's 
minds ; but it passes. One, diseased, will infect a whole 
group ; but every man, if left to his own heart, may find the 
cure, if he will." His trust in God, as merciful beyond our 
understanding, and his charity of mind towards all men, 
produced in him a peaceful attitude of mind in relation to 
the problems of faith. To Him who made the mysteries of 
life and death, including all other mysteries, he left their 
solution. He was ever aware of the limitations of the human 



intellect, and willing to await the great revelation following 
the release of the spirit. 

Immorality was a crime in his eyes ; and for lack of 
honour he admitted of no excuse. Yet his voice was seldom 
lifted in condemnation of an individual. A favourite little 
quotation from the song of Polly Peachum in the Beggar s 
Opera was sometimes used by him in rebuking a rash judg- 
ment. " Oh, ponder well ; be not severe ! " he would cry 

A touch of the light whip of good-humoured satire was 
the worst punishment he ever bestowed on any who were 
suggested to him as worthy of castigation. " If you want to 
make good effect by a reproof," he said, " you will do it best 
by putting the matter in a humorous light. The sharp 
reproach may be forgotten, but never the laugh." Yet he 
was " a good hater " in the best sense of the word ; his likes 
and dislikes were strong and unchanging. 

Though not rich, he was, eminently, a contented man as 
to worldly possessions, satisfied so long as by any amount of 
labour he could command means to realize his ideals. Larger 
fortune would have given him increase of power, but though 
well aware of this, he made it no cause of complaint. Don't 
count up money," he said playfully, when it was suggested 
that it might be well to provide for the night that cometh 
when a man can no longer work. " If we do our duty, 
Providence will always give enough. I will work while 
I live." 

His taste in poetry and in art was keen and true. He 
held by such masters as Shakespeare, Milton, Michael Angelo, 
Donatello ; but he loved a good ballad, a pathetic song, and 
the singing of a crowd of poor children in a convent school 
would bring tears to his eyes. For Moore's Melodies, words 
and music, he had a special love, partly from their intrinsic 
tenderness, partly from affectionate association. At all times 
he was keenly sensitive to the best music, often shrinking 
from its power of disturbing peace by rousing memories of 


In Irish politics he had a hopeful outlook, and for the 
future of his country he pursued his untiring labours, laying 
up store of material for its information. The present apathy 
of many Irish people on this point did not daunt him. " One 
day to come," he said, " they will wake up and look round 
for the authentic facts of their history, and I will work while 
I live to provide for that day." 

To the extraordinary harvest of accomplished work he 
has left behind him his biographer, in the " Dictionary of 
National Biography," calls attention by the statement that 
Sir John T. Gilbert " ultimately revealed more of the hidden 
or forgotten sources of Irish history than had been done by 
any single student." 

In the fifteenth Report of the Historical Manuscripts Com- 
mission (as noticed in the Times, June 19, 1899), the Commis- 
sioners state, " Sir John T. Gilbert carried on the duties 
entrusted to him, solely, in Ireland until May last, when he 
died, leaving a void in the work of your Commissioners which 
will be found most difficult to fill." 

The following letters are taken from the great number of 
such expressions which poured into his late home, from 
friends and from public bodies, in the summer of 1898, and 

From Thomas Arnold, M.A.y Fellow of the Royal 
University of Ireland. 

" Dublin, May, 28, 1898. 

''Dear Lady Gilbert, 

" I know I need not assure you with what a shock, 
and with what deep sorrow — chiefly for you, but in a measure 
also for all who, like myself, had the pleasure and honour of 
his friendship— I heard at the Academy on Monday that the 
able and excellent man with whom I had been conversing 
the previous afternoon had with such terrible suddenness been 
taken from among us. He seemed on that Sunday afternoon 



to be in a very genial and kindly mood, and I was particularly 
struck by the mildness and fairness of his expressions when 
we were discussing two persons on whom I, perhaps, should 
have been disposed to lean more hardly. This loss to Ireland 
is in many ways irreparable ; but there are many who are 
better able to estimate that than I. Assuring you of my own 
and my wife's truest sympathy, and feeling certain that He 
who in His impenetrable wisdom has dealt the blow will give 
you the necessary grace to bear it with fortitude and patience, 
" I remain, dear Lady Gilbert, 

" Always sincerely yours, 

T. Arnold." 

From Lord Russell of Killowen. 

"Tadworth Court, June 21, 1898. 

"My dear Rosa, 

"... Words of sympathy and affection avail little 
at such a time, but by-and-by, when the sharp edge of your 
trial is ever so little lessened, you will find comfort in thinking 
of these, and still more in the recollection of the noble, 
simple, unselfish life of him whom you have in this world 
lost. . . . 

am glad to see that on all sides Sir John's life and 
work are appreciated as they deserve. I hope none of his 
unfinished work will be allowed to perish. What mysteries 
Life and Providence are ! How very sad, in our dull com- 
prehension at least, to think of the stores of learning (owned 
by few, if any) which are buried in his grave. 

I feel, my dear Rosa, that this letter will do little to 
serve its purpose, but I know you will find in the end peace 
and comfort in that quarter where the prayers of the heavy- 
burdened, humbly offered, are always heard. 
" My dear Rosa, 

"Always affectionately, 

"Russell of Killowen." 



From John Rib ton Gars tin, V, P. R.I. A, 

" Braganstown, Castle Bellingham, May 24, 1898. 

"Dear Lady Gilbert, 

"... I must write a line to assure you of the 
sincere sorrow with which at the R.I.A. meeting yesterday 
I heard of your husband's death. He was one of my oldest 
friends, and we always pulled harmoniously together. 

" It is an open secret that he was to have been our next 

**If sympathy is helpful, be assured of that of yours 

"John Ribton Garstin." 
From Henry Bedford, M.A. 

"All Hallows College, Dublin, May 30, 1898. 

"Dear Lady Gilbert, 

"... The recollections of past happy days must 
be my excuse for expressing my sympathy with your sudden 
and heavy loss. So many early friends have passed away 
that I feel as though alone ; and now another whom I highly 
esteemed has gone. 

" May God sustain you under such trying circumstances, 
and be sure that old friends will forget neither of you in their 
prayers to heaven. For this I have the assurance of every 
friend I meet. 

" Sincerely yours, 

"Henry Bedford." 

Fro7n Rev, J, Hogan, S.S, 

" St. John's Ecclesiastical Seminary, Boston, U.S.A., 

"June 3, 1898. 

"My dear Lady Gilbert, 

"The news of your sad bereavement has just 
reached me, and I wish at once to say how sincerely and 
heartily I sympathize with you in your sorrow. I think I can 



divine much of what you feel. Most heartily do I pray to 
God to comfort you, and to remove the dark cloud that has 
settled on you. 

" To-morrow I will say mass for the dear departed one, 
that God may speedily give him the reward he so long 
laboured for and so well deserved. 

" Most truly yours, 

"J. HOGAN." 

From Mrs. John Dillon, 

" 2, North Great George's Street, Dublin, 

"June 6, 1898. 

"Dear Lady Gilbert, 

"... I do want you to know how often, and with 
what true sympathy, we are thinking of you. 

" No human words can bring comfort to desolation such 
as yours, but those who, in their measure, sorrow with you, 
long to humbly remind you of the universal feeling that 
Ireland, too, has sustained an irreparable loss in him whose 
intellectual gifts and wonderful scholarship were only equalled 
by his elevation of character and true kindness of heart. 
" Believe me, dear Lady Gilbert, 

" Affectionately yours, 

"Elizabeth Dillon." 

From Miss O' Conor Eccles. 

" 26, Margravine Gardens, West Kensington, 

" May 31, 1898. 

"Dear Lady Gilbert, 

"Permit me, though comparatively a stranger, 
to assure you with what sympathy and sincere regret we 
heard the sad news of your bereavement. If any comfort is 
to be found at such a time in earthly considerations, it must 
surely be in the thought that many mourn with you, and that 
even people of whom you know little feel the death of Sir 



John Gilbert as a personal and national loss. . . . Not every- 
one is so well prepared. . . . May he rest in peace. 
"With renewed expressions of our sympathy, 
" Believe me, dear Lady Gilbert, 
" Very truly yours, 

'•Charlotte O'Conor Eccles." 

From Mrs. BlundelL {Af. E, Francis.) 

" Convent Villa, Sidmouth, Devon, 

"May 28, 1898. 

"My dear Lady Gilbert, 

" I have just heard of your terrible loss, and feel 
that I must write and tell you how deeply I sympathize with 
you. May God comfort and sustain you ! He alone can 
help you. But you will take comfort, too, in the remembrance 
of how you brightened your dear one's life, and how much 
happiness you brought him. The remembrance, too, of his 
staunchness to his religion and country, and the universal 
respect in which he was held by all who knew him, will be a 
help to you by and by, if not now. I will pray for you and 
for him. 

" With deepest sympathy, 

" Yours affectionately, 

" Mary Blundell. 

" * Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth.' " 

From Sir Francis Cruise, M.D., D.L. 

"93, Merrion Square, Dublin, March 17, 1900. 

"Dear Lady Gilbert, 

" I knew dear Sir John very well, especially when his 
sister Philippa was ill, and when Miss Gilbert was in constant 
care of her, and I saw the last of both these amiable, devoted 
creatures who lived in the love of their dear brother. 

" I can never forget his gentle care of them and cheerful 



devotion to their wishes, combined with a certain quiet 
humour which sustained us all in the midst of great sorrow. 

" Of Sir John's deep learning, especially in his favourite 
line of research, I need say nothing ; you know it better than 
I do. 

" I remain, dear Lady Gilbert, 

" Yours faithfully, 

" F. R. Cruise." 

Froi7i Rev. Maxwell H. Close, M.R.I. A. 

" Dublin, August 30, 1900. 

**Dear Lady Gilbert, 

"Sir John's departure was a great loss to the 
Council of the R.I.A., of which he had been a member for so 
many years. I have often been struck with the judiciousness 
and businesslike character of his proposals and suggestions 
at the meetings of the Council. The strength and accuracy 
of his memory enabled him frequently to supply the history 
of matters under consideration, which history was sometimes 
of late known only to himself, and was often an important 
element in determining the decision upon such questions. 

I have often noticed that he was always actuated by 
a desire to accommodate members of the Academy, and to 
give facilities to readers and investigators, as far as his duty 
to the Academy and to the Library would allow. 

" His numerous literary monuments that he has left 
behind speak for themselves. His work upon them was 
carried on so quietly and unostentatiously that, in most cases, 
no one was aware of his having been engaged upon them 
until they were actually published. 

" I need not say how heartily I sympathize with you and 
Lady Russell ^ on the further great loss that you have lately 

" Yours very truly, 

"M. H. Close." 

^ The death of Lord Russell of Killowen on August 10, 1900. 



Royal Irish Academy. 

" Dawson Street, Dublin, June 13, 1898. 

"Dear Lady Gilbert, 

" I cannot forward the enclosed resolution of the 
Royal Irish Academy without assuring you of my heart-felt 

" We became Members of the Academy within a year of 
each other ; now a friendship of over forty years has been 

" Very faithfully yours, 

"E. Percival Wright, M.D., 
Sec. R.I. Acad." 

Royal Irish Academy, 

Copy of resolution unanimously adopted by the Royal 
Irish Academy on June 13, 1898 — 

" That the Academy desires at this, the first meeting after 
the death of Sir John Gilbert, to place on record its deep 
sense of the loss it has sustained, and desires to offer its 
condolence to Lady Gilbert and the other members of his 

The Royal University of Ireland, 

" Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin, July 29, 1898. 

" Madam, 

" We are directed to communicate to you the 
following resolution passed at the meeting of the Senate 
to-day, the first held here since the death of Sir John T. 
Gilbert :— 

" ' That the Senate desire to record their deep regret at the 
death of their esteemed colleague, Sir John T. Gilbert, whose 
services to education were so very valuable.' 
" Faithfully yours, 

•'J. C. Meredith, ) ^ 

"J. Magrath, } Secretarzes, 

" Lady Gilbert, 

"Villa Nova, Blackrock, Co. Dublin." 



Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts, 

" Lower Abbey Street, Dublin, June 7, 1898. 

"Dear Madam, 

"At a meeting of the Council held yesterday 
a resolution was passed, of which the following is a 
copy : — 

"'That the President and Council of the Royal Hibernian 
Academy have received with deep regret the intelligence of 
the sudden and unexpected death of the Professor of Anti- 
quities to the Academy, Sir John T. Gilbert, M.R.I.A. They 
deeply deplore their loss, and desire the Secretary to com- 
municate to Lady Gilbert their sincere condolence with her 
in her affliction.* 

" I am, dear Madam, 

" With great respect, 

" Yours faithfully, 
" S. Catterson Smith, R.H.A. 

" To Lady Gilbert.'^ 

From Professor B, O'Looney, M.R.I.A. 

" Grove Villa House, Crumlin, Co. Dublin, 

"August, 1901. 

"My dear Lady Gilbert, 

" I am delighted to know that we may hope to 
have a faithful biography of my genial, kind, and learned 
friend, the late Sir John T. Gilbert. 

" I had the pleasure of his intimate acquaintance for many 
years, and I flatter myself that I enjoyed his full confidence 
to the day of his death. 

" I am satisfied that you will discharge a national duty by 
leaving to posterity a reliable biography of the man who was 
in reality the forerunner and founder of the modern revival 
of interest in the study and cultivation of the language, and 



literature, and history of Ireland, to the advancement of 
which he devoted his labours from early boyhood to the day 
of his death. 

I beg to remain, my dear Lady Gilbert, 

" Yours very truly, 

"Brian O'Looney." 

From Most Rev. Dr. Mac Cormack. 

"Mount St. Mary's, Galway, May i, 1900. 

"My dear Lady Gilbert, 

" I have learned with very sincere pleasure that 
you are preparing a biography of your beloved husband. 

" The name of Sir John Gilbert will be associated in my 
memory as that of a scholar of deep erudition, a historian of 
exceptional eminence, a gentleman of the most amiable and 
winning qualities, a friend of unswerving constancy, an Irish- 
man of purest patriotism, and a Catholic loyally devoted to 
his church. 

" His published works tell the world that tale of his 
laborious literary life as a scholar and writer ; but the charm 
of his character could only be known and appreciated by 
those who were privileged to confer with him in his study at 
Villa Nova or at the Royal Irish Academy. 

''Wishing your project the eminent success which your 
subject deserves, 

" I am, my dear Lady Gilbert, 

" Yours very faithfully, 

"F. J. Mac Cormack, 
" Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh." 




I. Samuel Whyte's School, Dublin 403 

II. The Royal Irish Academy 404 

III. Sonnet. By Denis Florence MacCarthy . . 407 

IV. "A Shamrock from the Irish Shore." By D. F. 

Mac Carthy 408 

V. Secretary of Public Record Office, Ireland . 411 

VI. "Leabhar na h-Uidhri," " Leabhar Breac" . . 41-2 

VII. The Ancient Dublin Muniments 415 

VIII. The "Book of Leinster" 419 

IX. The Cunningham Fund 427 

X. Sir Humphrey Gilbert 431 

XL Costello Family 432 

XII. " Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and 

Ireland " — Master of the Rolls' Series . . 433 

XIII. Irish Bibliography : Two Papers 437 

XIV. Obituary Notice : Royal Irish Academy . . . 443 
XV. Bibliography of the Works of Sir J. T. Gilbert 445 


2 D 



Thomas Moore says : " To the drama and all connected with it Mr. 
"Whyte had been through his whole life warmly devoted, having lived 
in habits of intimacy with the family of Brinsley Sheridan, as well as 
with most of the other ornaments of the Irish stage in the middle of 
the last century. Among his private pupils, too, he had to number 
some of the most distinguished of our people of fashion, both male 
and female ; and of one of the three beautiful Misses Montgomery, 
who had been under his tuition, a portrait hung in his drawing-room. 
In the direction of those private theatricals, which were at that time 
so fashionable among the higher circles in Ireland, he had always a 
leading share. Besides teaching and training the young actors, he 
took frequently a part in the dramatis persons himself ; and either 
the prologue or epilogue was generally furnished by his pen. Among 
the most memorable of the theatricals which he assisted in may be 
mentioned the performance of the Beggar^ s Opera at Carton, the seat 
of the Duke of Leinster, on which occasion the Rev. Dean Marlay, 
who was afterwards Bishop of Waterford, besides performing the 
part of ' Lockit ' in the opera, recited a prologue, of which he him- 
self was the author. The ' Peachum ' of the night was Lord Charle- 
mont ; the ' Lucy,' Lady Louisa Conolly ; and Captain Morris (I 
know not whether the admirable song-writer) was the * Mac-heath.' " 

* " History of Dublin," vol. iii., p. 205. 




The Royal Irish Academy was founded in 1785. Its objects were 
to be attained through the efforts of three distinct committees, i.e. of 
Sciences, of PoUte Literature, and of Antiquities. The first meeting 
was held at Lord Charlemont's on April 18, 1785. Among other 
resolutions passed at the meeting were the following : — 

" That the Irish Academy of Sciences, Polite Literature, and 
Antiquities, do consist of a president, a council of eighteen, and an 
indefinite number of members. That the council be divided into 
three committees, each consisting of six members, which committees 
shall have for their objects, respectively, the departments of Science, 
Polite Literature, and Antiquities. That each of these committees 
meet every third week, and be empowered to form by-laws for the 
regulation of their several meetings, at each of which meetings every 
member of the Academy shall be invited to assist. That there be 
two public general meetings of the Academy in the year, at which 
meetings the titles of the publications which have been approved of 
by the several committees shall be read, and candidates shall be 
balloted for, such as shall have signified their intentions of proposing 
themselves as members, six weeks at least before the meeting." 

In 1785 letters patent were granted by the king, constituting the 
group of original members one body, politic and corporate, in deed 
and name, by the name of the Royal Irish Academy, and nominating 
the Earl of Charlemont the first president of the Academy. In a 
preface to the first volume of the Academy's Trans actio7is^ the Rev. 
Robert Burrowes, Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, after a brief 
review of the obstacles which had previously impeded the progress 
of science and learning in Ireland, wrote — 

" The influence of many of these causes time has in a considerable 
degree weakened, and peculiar circumstances have now [1786] given 
to Ireland an importance in the political scale which habits of a 
well-directed industry alone can establish and maintain. Whatever, 
therefore, tends by the cultivation of useful arts and sciences to 
improve and facilitate its manufactures; whatever tends by the 

* ** History of Dublin," vol. iii., p. 228. 



elegance of polite literature to civilize the manners and refine the 
tastes of its people; whatever tends to awaken a spirit of literary- 
ambition by keeping alive the memory of its ancient reputation for 
learning, cannot but prove of the greatest national advantage. To 
a wish to promote in these important respects the advancement of 
knowledge in this kingdom, the Royal Irish Academy for Science, 
Polite Literature, and Antiquities owes its establishment ; and though 
the members who compose it are not entirely without hopes that 
their efforts may hereafter become, perhaps, extensively useful and 
respected, yet the original intent of their institution must be con- 
sidered as confining their views for the present to Ireland." 

In 1800 the Irish House of Commons granted to the Academy 
a sum of ;£iooo, with an annual allowance of ;^5o. In 181 6 the 
Academy petitioned Parliament for an increase of financial support, 
stating that " since the union of the two countries the altered circum- 
stances of the city of Dublin, as being no longer the winter residence 
of the Irish nobility and gentry, have more and more contributed to 
diminish the number of candidates for admission, and of course 
proportionably to lessen the funds of the Academy, until at length 
the present members feel themselves reduced to the alternative of 
either relinquishing their pursuits, or of soliciting from the bounty 
of Parliament such increased assistance as is essential to their con- 
tinuing an active body corporate." After this date a grant of about 
;£6oo a year was contributed by Government towards the maintenance 
of the Royal Irish Academy. 

Donations from various sources and kinds came to the institution. 
In 1789 Timothy Cunningham, barrister of Gray's Inn, London, 
bequeathed to it " the sum of ;£'iooo, to be laid out in such funds as 
they should think proper, and the interest of it to be disposed of in 
such premiums as they should think proper for the improvement of 
natural knowledge and other objects of their institution." To carry 
out the intention of the donor, a large gold medal, bearing the head 
of Lord Charlemont, was struck as the Academy's reward for dis- 
tinguished literary work in the service of Ireland. 

In his " History of Dublin," writing of the Royal Irish Academy, 
Gilbert says — 

" From the period of its foundation, the Academy occasionally 
received donations of ancient objects of interest discovered in 
various parts of Ireland ; but as it possessed no regular repository 
for their custody, many of these acquisitions were embezzled, and 
others were deposited in the museum of Trinity College. The 
commencement of a museum illustrative of the history of the people 
of Ireland in former ages dates from 1839, when it was initiated by 
a number of private subscribers purchasing and presenting to the 
Academy two large golden torques found at Tara. At the same 
time the late James M'Cullagh, a mathematician of European 
celebrity, gave to the institution the invaluable ' Cross of Cong,' 



executed by a native Irish artificer about half a century before the 
first descent of the Anglo-Normans on this country." 

On the occasion of the completion of the purchase of Sir William 
Betham's collection of manuscripts for the Academy by private 
subscriptions of the members, the late Right Rev. Dr. Charles 
Graves, Bishop of Limerick, observed — 

" Science and literature have many departments, not one of which 
is undeserving of our regard, so long as it is cultivated in a liberal 
and philosophical spirit ; but the history of our own country and 
of its language has especial claims to our consideration, unless we 
choose to renounce the name of Irishmen. It is no morbid feeling 
which leads us to turn with a longing and affectionate interest to the 
ancient history and literature of our own country. It is no fond 
national conceit which inspires us with the desire to gather and to 
preserve those of its scattered records which have escaped the tooth 
of time, the ravages of barbarism, and the persecuting rigour of a 
miscalculating policy. It is indeed wise in us to soar as high as we 
may, seeking wide and clear views of the entire horizon of human 
knowledge and science j but even to those elevating regions let us 
carry with us a loving remembrance of the spot of earth from which 
we took our flight — of our birthplace — and the home which is the 
sanctuary of the purest and strongest of our earthly affections." 



Written after reading Gilberfs "'History of Dublin J' 

Long have I loved the beauty of thy streets, 

Fair DubUn ; long, with unavailing vows, 

Sigh'd to all guardian deities who rouse 

The spirits of dead nations to new heats 

Of life and triumph : — vain the fond conceits, 

Nestling like eaves-warmed doves 'neath patriot brows ! 

Vain as the Hope," that from thy Custom-House, 

Looks o'er the vacant bay in vain for fleets. 

Genius alone brings back the days of yore : 

Look ! look, what life is in these quaint old shops — 

The loneliest lanes are rattling with the roar 

Of coach and chair ; fans, feathers, flambeaux, fops 

Flutter and flicker through yon open door, 

Where Handel's hand moves the great organ stops. 

D. F. MacCarthy. 

March ii, 1856. 




( On receiving a Shamrock in a Letter from Ireland.) 

O Postman ! speed thy tardy gait — 

Go quicker round from door to door ; 
For thee I watch, for thee I wait, 

Like many a weary wanderer more. 
Thou bringest news of bale and bUss — 

Some hfe begun, some life well o'er. 
He stops — he rings — O heaven ! what's this ? 

A shamrock from the Irish shore ! 

Dear emblem of my native land, 

By fresh fond words kept fresh and green ; 
The pressure of an unfelt hand — 

The kisses of a lip unseen ; 
A throb from my dead mother's heart — 

My father's smile revived once more — 
Oh, youth ! oh, love ! oh, hope thou art^ 

Sweet shamrock from the Irish shore ! 

Enchanter ! with thy wand of power 

Thou mak'st the past be present still : 
The emerald lawn, the lime-leaved bower. 

The circling shore, the sunlit hill ; 
The grass, in winter's wintriest hours, 

By dewy daisies dimpled o'er. 
Half hiding 'neath their trembling flowers 

The shamrock of the Irish shore ! 

And thus, where'er my footsteps strayed 

By queenly Florence, kingly Rome — 
By Padua's long and lone arcade — 

By Ischia's fires and Adria's foam ; 
By Spezzia's fatal waves that kissed 

My poet sailing calmly o'er. 
By all, by each I mourned and missed 

The shamrock of the Irish shore 1 


I saw the palm-tree stand aloof, 

Irresolute, 'twixt the sand and sea ; 
I saw upon the trellised roof 

Outspread, the wine that was to be ; 
A giant-flowered and glorious tree 

I saw the tall magnolia soar ; 
But there, even there, I longed for thee. 

Poor shamrock of the Irish shore ! 

Now on the ramparts of Boulogne, 

As lately by the lonely Ranee, 
At evening as I watch the sun, 

I look ! I dream ! Can this be France 
Not Albion's cliffs, how near they be. 

He seems to love to linger o'er. 
But gilds, by a remoter sea. 

The shamrock on the Irish shore ! 

I'm with him in that wholesome clime — 

That fruitful soil, that verdurous sod — 
Where hearts unstained by vulgar crime 

Have still a simple faith in God ; 
Hearts that in pleasure and in pain. 

The more they're trod rebound the more. 
Like thee, when wet with heaven's own rain, 

O shamrock of the Irish shore ! 

Memorial of my native land. 

True emblem of my land and race. 
Thy small and tender leaves expand. 

But only in thy native place. 
Thou needest for thyself and seed 

Soft dews around, kind sunshine o'er ; 
Transplanted thou'rt the merest weed, 

O shamrock of the Irish shore ! 

Here, on the tawny fields of France, 

Or in the rank, red English clay, 
Thou showest a stronger form perchance, 

A bolder front thou may est display. 
More able to resist the scythe 

That cut so keen, so sharp before. 
But then thou art no more the blithe 

Bright shamrock of the Irish shore ! 

Ah, me ! to think—thy scorns, thy slights, 
Thy trampled tears, thy nameless grave 



On Fredericksburg's ensanguined heights, 

Or by Potomac's purpled wave ! 
Ah, me ! to think that power maUgn 

Thus turns thy sweet green sap to gore. 
And what calm rapture might be thine, 

Sweet shamrock of the Irish shore ! 

Struggling, and yet for strife unmeet. 

True type of trustful love thou art ; 
Thou liest the whole year at my feet. 

To live but one day at my heart. 
One day of festal pride to lie 

Upon the loved one's heart — what more ? 
Upon the loved one's heart to die, 

0 shamrock of the Irish shore ! 

And shall I not return thy love ? 

And shalt thou not, as thou should'st, be, 
Placed on thy son's proud heart above 

The red rose, or the fleur-de-lis ? 
Yes, from these heights the waters beat, 

1 vow to press thy cheek once more. 
And lie for ever at thy feet, 

O shanirock of the Irish shore ! 

D. F. MacCarthy. 

Boulogne-sur-Mer, March 17, 1865. 



Extract from Observations of Deputy Keeper forwarded March 6, 
1874, to H. H. Murray^ Esq.^ and Report of Committee on 
Public Record Office of Ireland, 

^' I consider that the abolition of the office of Secretary would be 
attended with great inconvenience, and would operate very injuriously 
on the higher interests of the service in this department. I do not 
agree that the work of that office is slight, although it leaves the 
Secretary time for intermittent occupation under his agreement with 
the Treasury. There is a great variety of details in the internal 
administration and economy of the office, in which his intervention 
and assistance are constantly required. The presence of a man of 
acknowledged learning and ability in such a position gives a cha- 
racter to the office highly conducive to its general efficiency. I am 
not, myself, prepared to assume a new class of duties ; and, with the 
prospects before us, I see no possibility of adding to those now 
discharged by the Assistant Deputy Keeper. 

" Subject to the decision of Mr. Gilbert, I would not object to the 
arrangement proposed." 




Preface from "LEABHAR NA H-UIDHRI." Dublin, 1870. 

This volume is the first result of the Royal Irish Academy's 
adoption of suggestions, which, as the member of their Council 
specially in charge of their manuscripts, I submitted, in 1869, for the 
publication of ancient Irish texts in their original integrity. 

" Leabhar na h-Uidhri" — the oldest volume known entirely in 
the Irish language — is regarded as the chief surviving literary monu- 
ment, not ecclesiastical, of ancient Ireland. It is here printed from 
an exact lithograph of the original by Mr. Joseph O'Longan, of the 
Royal Irish Academy's Department of Irish Manuscripts, and col- 
lated by him in conjunction with Mr. Brian O'Looney, editor and 
translator of various old Irish texts. 

Every line corresponds with the original ; contracted words 
and symbols of abbreviations are faithfully reproduced, and the 
measurement of the writing on the pages agrees closely with that of 
the manuscript. Obscure, illegible, and fractured places are indi- 
cated by equivalent spaces numbered within brackets, and a table is 
appended by reference to which the nature of each of these defects 
may be ascertained. No conjectural restoration has been admitted 
of any partially lost letter, aspirate, or accent. 

The pages have been numbered consecutively from i to the 
end, as it was found impracticable to reconcile former markings, or 
to estimate with precision the quantity of missing leaves. Initial and 
ornamental letters have been engraved from tracings. The only 
colour ornamentation in the original consists of inelaborate touches 
in yellow, red, and dark purple — mostly near or within the frames of 
the initial or other large characters. Two pages, coloured in fac- 
simile, in the Appendix, exhibit the style of these tints and the 
appearance which now presents. An account of " Leabhar na 
h-Uidhri" and its contents was compiled about 1843 by the late 
Eugene O'Curry, and forms portion of the unpublished catalogues 
of the Royal Irish Academy. The description here printed of the 
manuscript is based upon and embodies this work of O'Curry, but 
with such revision in details as it would, no doubt, have received at 
his own hand prior to its publication. 



An index has been appended, by which each piece in the book 
may be referred to, and the edition has been limited to two hundred 


Librarian of the Academy, 

Royal Irish Academy House, 
Dublin, November^ 1870. 

"LEABHAR BREAC" Parti. Dublin, 1872. 

Royal Irish Academy House, 

Dublin, 2*jth Jtdy, 1872. 

The present part of " Leabhar Breac " has been executed on 
the system initiated in the Academy's edition of " Leabhar na 
H-UiDRHi," issued in 1870. 

Mr. Joseph O'Longan, of the Academy's Department of Irish 
Manuscripts, has reproduced the text in close conformity to the 
original, with which the lithographic copy has been revised and 
collated by him in conjunction with B. O'Looney, M.R.I. A. No 
alterations or emendations have been admitted : obliterations or 
fractures in the original are indicated by equivalent spaces, with 
numbers between brackets. 

The second part of *' Leabhar Breac " is in progress. With it 
will be issued conclusion of Table of Contents, description of the 
original manuscript, indices, and coloured facsimiles. The edition 
of " Leabhar Breac " is limited to two hundred copies. 


Librarian of the Academy. 


At the instance of the Librarian, the Council have commenced 
the lithographing of Irish texts, which it is hoped will be attended 
with important results in the promotion of Celtic studies. The first 
manuscript selected for lithographing was the ^' Leabhar na h-Uidhri," 
the most ancient and valuable Irish text (not ecclesiastical) now 
extant in these countries. An accurate and elegant lithographic 
copy — line for line — of this volume has been made by Mr. 
O'Longan ; and it is with great satisfaction that we are able to 
announce that the entire is now on stones in proof, and will be 
printed off as rapidly as is consistent with careful final revision. The 
volume will be issued to subscribers at as moderate a rate as pos- 
sible, to bring it within the reach of Celtic students at home and 

^ Minutes of the Royal Irish Academy, Stated Meeting, March 16, 1870, 
pp. viii., ix. Session 1869-70. 



From Preface to " LEABHAR BREAC." 1876, p. vii. 

Her Majesty's Government having been pleased to place at the 
disposal of the Royal Irish Academy a special grant for researches 
in connection with Celtic manuscripts, and a Committee of Irish 
Manuscripts having been constituted for the administration of that 
fund, a proposal was, in the year 1869, submitted to this Committee 
by the Librarian, Mr. J. T. Gilbert, for the publication of litho- 
graphed transcripts of ancient Irish texts in their integrity, so as to 
place copies of the oldest and best manuscripts within reach of 
Celtic scholars in every part of the world. This proposal having 
been approved by the Committee and adopted by the Council, a 
lithographic facsimile of " Leabhar na h-Uidhri " was prepared under 
the supervision of Mr. Gilbert, and published in 1870. The second 
manuscript selected for reproduction, which has also been produced 
under the supervision of Mr. Gilbert, is that known as " Leabhar 
Breac," which is here printed from a transcript of the original, made 
by Mr. Joseph O'Longan, of the Academy's Department of Irish 
Manuscripts, and carefully collated by him in conjunction with 
Professor O'Looney, M.R.I.A. 

" Leabhar Breac " has been reproduced on the same principle as 
" Leabhar na h-Uidhri," as stated in the Preface to that work. 


Chairma?i of the Committee of Iiish Manuscripts. 



Villa Nova, Blackrock, Dublin. 
To the Editor of the Free??tan, 


Occasional references have of late been made in the 
Freeman's Journal to the old records of the city of Dublin in the 
custody of the Municipal Corporation, and to the advantages which 
might be expected from their publication. Some of these notices 
might lead your readers to infer that these city muniments had 
hitherto been almost unknown, and that no steps had been taken 
towards publishing any of them. Such an inference would be not 
only erroneous, but unjust to the Government and the Corporation, 
as well as to myself. I therefore ask you to permit me to state, as 
briefly as possible, what has hitherto been effected in this direction. 
At the request of Cornelius Dennehy, Esq., and Dr. Norwood, and 
in compliance with the desire of Committee No. 3, expressed in the 
Town Clerk's letter of June 11, 1866, I inspected the Corporation 
muniments antecedent to 1800. I reported, on June 15, that many 
valuable documents were then in a most confused condition. Some 
were entirely obliterated from the carelessness with which they were 
treated in former times. Several documents of high value to the 
city had been long missing, and of those still extant in the possession 
of the Corporation there was neither catalogue nor inventory. I 
classed the muniments then in charge of the Corporation as 
follows : — 

Class I. — Original charters granted by the kings of England to 
the city of Dublin, commencing in 117 1-2. 

Class 2. — Original contemporary vellum rolls of the acts of the 
Council of the city from the middle of the fifteenth century. 

Class 3. — Vellum and paper books containing copies and entries 
of various important matters in mediaeval Latin and Anglo-Norman 
connected with the affairs, laws, and rights of the city ; original 
rentals and accounts signed by the Mayors and city officers. In 
this class I include the " Chain Book " and the " Domesday Book," 

* The Freeman'' s /ojirnal, December 26, 1877. 



invaluable vellum volumes, portions of each of which were written 
about six hundred years ago. 

Class 4. — Miscellaneous detached original documents, ranging 
from the fourteenth century, connected with the affairs and rights of 

Class 5. — A quantity of leases and agreements of various dates. 
The suggestions which I made to the committee were as fol- 
lows : — 

1. — That all these documents should be stamped as the property 
of the Corporation of Dublin ; that each charter and detached ancient 
instrument should be repaired, placed chronologically, and according 
to class. 

2. — That each roll should also be repaired and placed in a zinc 
case, lettered externally. 

3. — That translations and fair transcripts should be made of the 
more ancient, obscure, fragile^ and decaying documents, to be bound 
into volumes and indexed. 

4. — That a catalogue should be at once prepared of all these 
books and documents dating earlier than 1800, with tables of their 
contents and references to their locations in the Muniment Room, so 
that each document or volume could be at once produced when 

5. — That application be made, through the city members and 
other members of Parliament and the President of the Royal Irish 
Academy, to the Treasury in London^ to authorize the publication 
of the more important of the muniments of the Dublin Guildhall 
prior to the reign of Henry VIII., from the grant annually made by 
the House of Commons for the printing and editing of the works 
styled " Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland." 

This report and its recommendations were submitted to a meeting 
of the Town Council especially convened for their consideration by 
the then Lord Mayor, Sir J. W. Mackey, on June 21, 1866. By this 
meeting the report and recommendation were unanimously adopted, 
and I proceeded with the classification and arrangement of the entire 
collection, new metal fittings, etc., for the Muniment Room being 
provided by the Corporation^ under the superintendence of the city 
engineer. Park Neville, Esq. 

In compliance with the suggestions in the report, a memorial 
under the city seal was addressed to the Lord Lieutenant on 
December 9, 1866, to beg that his Excellency would be good enough 
to bring under the favourable consideration of the Lords Com- 
missioners of her Majesty's Treasury the prayer of the Municipal 
Council of Dublin, that their lordships would be pleased to sanction, 
at the expense of the Treasury, the publication of a collection of 
the Dublin muniments. This application formed the subject of a 
correspondence with the Government, in consequence of which Mr. 
(now Sir) Thomas Duffus Hardy, Deputy Keeper of the Records in 


England, by direction of the Treasury, visited the Muniment Room 
on April 20, 1867, and carefully inspected the documents and system 
of arrangement which I had adopted. Sir Thomas Hardy is admittedly 
the most profound and learned archivist in England, and has produced 
many valuable publications on history and records, which are every- 
where recognized as standard works in this department of learning. 
He highly approved of the system of arrangement which I had 
adopted, and reported on the subject to the Right Hon. John Baron 
Romilly, then Master of the Rolls and Keeper of the PubHc Records 
of England. In this report Sir Thomas Hardy suggested the publica- 
tion of a selection of these documents, to form a volume in the series 
entitled " Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland," 
issued under the authority of the Master of the Rolls in England. 
" This pubHcation," he observed, he " was sure would be honourable 
to the Government and very acceptable to the Irish nation." 

Lord Romilly reported to the Treasury in favour of this suggestion, 
and recommended that I should be appointed to edit the volume in 
the series published under his direction. This proposition was assented 
to by their lordships, after due consideration. 

In June, 1868, I reported to Committee No. 3 that I had com- 
pleted the arrangements and classification of all the documents in 
the Muniment Room. To it I had also transferred large numbers 
of city official papers which had formerly lain at the old Assembly 
House, William Street, and at the office of the secretary to the late 
Commissioners of Wide Streets. This work ensured the safety of 
invaluable ancient evidences of the city's rights and properties. It 
also secured the permanent preservation of many valuable original 
writings illustrating both the history of Ireland and that of her 

With the authority of the Treasury a volume of above six hundred 
pages, edited by me, was published in 1870, under the title of 
"Historical and Municipal Documents of Ireland, a.d. 1171-1320, 
from the Archives of the City of Dublin, etc." In this volume I 
supplied, from extern sources in England and elsewhere, several very 
valuable documents connected with the city of Dublin, the originals 
of which had formerly been in the city archives, whence they had 
disappeared in former times. Amongst these I may make special 
mention of the second charter of Henry II. to Dublin ; the charter 
of Prince John in 1185, and the charter of Henry III., 1229, under 
which the Dublin mayoralty is constituted. The limits assigned for 
the work did not admit of any documents being included in it 
subsequently to a.d. 1320. All these documents were written in 
contracted Latin or Anglo-Norman, which I had to decipher, ex- 
panding the contractions grammatically, and printing in full, with 
epitomized translations into English. This was the first collection 
published of original Latin and French texts connected with the 
early civil history of Ireland. The history of the municipal middle 

2 E 



and trading classes in Ireland, under or in relation to the rule of 
England in the twelfth and four succeeding centuries, had previously- 
been in almost entire obscurity. Unless in connection with the 
Church and the nobles, the interests of the middle and commercial 
classes are seldom mentioned by the annalists or chroniclers whose 
works formed the basis of subsequent compilations on Irish history. 
Authentic evidences on the subject of the history of the people can 
now, consequently, be gleaned only from the few existing remnants 
of municipal archives and correlative records which have survived 
to our time. 

The work was rendered more than ordinarily arduous by many 
of the required documents being in divers and distant custodies, 
while all were written in contracted curial Latin or ancient French, 
replete with archaic technicalities. 

This publication entailed no expense whatever upon the city, as 
its cost was defrayed by the Government. 

At a meeting of the Municipal Council, held on February 7, 
1871, the following resolution was unanimously adopted : — 

" That the volume of historical and municipal documents from 
the archives of the city of Dublin, now laid before the Council, be 
referred to No. 3 Committee, with instructions to prepare a memorial 
to her Majesty's Government, requesting that the remainder of the 
interesting and valuable muniments and records in the possession 
of the Town Council may be published without delay, and that this 
Council do express their satisfaction at the able manner in which 
Mr. Gilbert has discharged his editorial duties." 

A correspondence between the Municipal Council and the 
Government subsequently took place, the result of which was that 
the Treasury considered that the remaining Dublin archives, being 
of a local character and to some extent connected with the properties 
of the city, should be published by the Corporation itself, as had 
been done in similar cases in England and Scotland. Since that 
period the only step taken in these matters, so far as I am aware, 
has been the compilation of a catalogue of the expired leases belonging 
to the city. 

Believing, however, that, when circumstances permit, the Corpora- 
tion will continue the publication which was commenced by me, at 
the Government expense, I have prepared for the press accurate 
transcripts of the Dublin charters and other important ancient 
documents, as well as complete calendars to the city assembly rolls, 
with copious indices to all personal and local matters recorded on 
them. These works are ready for publication whenever it may be 
the convenience of the Corporation to make suitable arrangements 
for having them placed in the printer's hands. 

I remain, sir, your obedient servant, 

John T. Gilbert. 


Royal Irish Academy Minutes of Proceedings. 

SPECIAL Meeting. 
Friday Evening, April i8, 1879. 
Sir Robert Kane, F.R.S., etc., President, in the Chair. 

The consideration of the reports of the Council was resumed. 
It was resolved — " To proceed with the Report on the Editorship 
of the * Book of Leinster.' " 

On the Editorship of the " Book of Leinster." 

This report was read as follows by the Secretary of Council, who 
moved its adoption : — 

On December 14, 1872, a resolution was passed by the Committee 
to the effect — 

" That the President be requested to communicate to the Board 
of Trinity College, Dublin, that this Committee is prepared to under- 
take the production of a lithographic facsimile of the ' Book of 
Leinster,' similar in style to ' Leabhar Breac ' and ' Leabhar na 
h-Uidhri.' " 

This resolution the Secretary was desired to communicate to the 
President, with a request that he would be good enough to take 
steps as he might deem desirable in the matter, and to inform the 
Committee of the result. 

At this same meeting, prior to the passing of this resolution, the 
Committee had had laid before them " A Descriptive Catalogue of 
the Contents of the Book of Leinster," by Mr. O'Looney, when the 
following resolution was passed : — 

" That when funds are available, the Treasurer be authorized to 
pay Mr. O'Looney for preparing a catalogue of the contents of the 
' Book of Leinster ' such amount as shall be certified by the Secretary 
of the Academy and the Librarian." 

The catalogue laid on the table by Mr. O'Looney was a necessary 
preliminary to any recommendation on the part of this Committee 

> R.I. A. Minutes, Session 1878-79, pp. 86-92. 



to the Board of Trinity College to co-operate in the undertaking of 
this work, as the descriptive catalogue of Manuscripts in Trinity 
College Library does not enter into any detail of the contents of 
that Manuscript. 

The catalogue should, by the terms of the resolution, have become 
the property of the Academy on payment of the sum duly certified. 

The President of the Academy (Mr. Jellett) accordingly brought 
the motion before the Board of Trinity College on February i, 1873, 
and in a letter to the Secretary of Council (Dr. Ingram) signified the 
assent of the Board on certain conditions. 

From this period till May 23, 1874, the Committee was engaged 
in settling the details necessary to enable the work to be efficiently 
performed^ as will appear from the following resolutions. 

On May 17, 1873, it was resolved by the Committee — 

" That the President be requested to name a day during the 
following week on which he could meet and confer with this Com- 
mittee as to the details in connection with the purchase of the paper 
and lithography of the ' Book of Leinster,' and the other arrangements 
for that work." 

Accordingly, on May 21, 1873, Mr. Jellett presided at a meeting 
of this Committee, when the details in connection with the publication 
of the " Book of Leinster " were considered. 

On June 14, 1873, a further resolution was passed by this Com- 
mittee, to recommend Council to request the President to bring under 
the notice of the authorities of T.C.D. certain considerations which 
made it expedient that, for the purpose of transcription, the manu- 
script should be deposited in the Academy House. 

On October 25, 1873, the President reported to this Committee 
that the Board of T.C.D. had consented to deposit the " Book of 
Leinster " in the Academy House in portions ; and also that the 
Board had agreed to purchase in advance all the paper required for 
the work. 

On the same day the President was requested to take the requisite 
steps to obtain permission for Mr. O'Longan and Mr. O'Looney to 
have access to the " Book of Leinster " for the purpose of putting 
the leaves in sequence, preparatory to commencing the copy. 

On January 24, 1874, the Committee, having considered the 
estimates for the paper and the printing of the " Book of Leinster," 
adjourned till January 28, when it was resolved — 

" That a Sub-committee, consisting of the Treasurer, the Secretary 
of the Academy, the Secretary of Council, and the Librarian, be 
requested to examine and arrange all matters in connection with the 
purchase of the paper and the lithography of the ' Book of Leinster.' " 

On May 23, 1874, it was resolved by the Committee — 

" That the sample of paper from Messrs. Pim, recommended by 
them, and now marked by the Chairman, be approved of for the 
* Book of Leinster.' " 


Matters having been thus finally arranged, the Committee on the 
same day passed this further resolution — 

" That the Librarian be requested to have the goodness to under- 
take the supervision through the press of the ' Book of Leinster,' 
and to arrange all details in connection with it on behalf of the 

This duty Mr. Gilbert continued to fulfil until the close of the 
year (he was present for the last time at the meeting of December 
26, 1874), but the state of his health soon after obliged him to with- 
draw from his Academy duties. Towards the end of the Academic 
Session of 187 5-1 87 6, when Mr. Gilbert, by his prolonged absence, 
was about to become ineligible for re-election to his seat on the 
Council, owing to non-attendance, the Council, in February, 1876, 
passed a resolution to advise the Academy to waive the by-law which 
made him ineligible for non-attendance. As Mr. Gilbert's advisers, 
however, declined to avail themselves of the offer, the matter pro- 
ceeded no further, and Mr. Gilbert being thus no longer re-eligible. 
Dr. Atkinson was, at the Stated Meeting of March, 1876, elected by 
the Academy Librarian in his stead. 

As from the date of his last attendance at this Committee, on 
December 26, 1874, up till this period of March, 1876, no com- 
munication had been received from Mr. Gilbert, and the work of 
transcription of the " Book of Leinster " had remained entirely with- 
out any other supervision than that exercised by members of this 
Committee, the Committee, feeling the , necessity of some responsible 
personal superintendence over the work, passed a resolution on April 
22, 1876 — 

" That the Librarian be requested to supervise the publication of 
the ' Book of Leinster ' in its passage through the press ; and, on the 
completion of the work, to prepare such prefatory matter as may 
seem to him suitable as an introduction to the work." 

By this resolution. Dr. Atkinson, designated under his then official 
title as Librarian, was instructed to prepare an introduction to the 
work on its completion, without any special direction as to the nature 
or contents of such preface. 

The following extract from the Proceedings of the Academy, taken 
from a paper of Professor O'Looney, read January 13, 1873, " On 
the Book of Leinster," points naturally to the source whence informa- 
tion ought to have been available : — 

" The want of a descriptive catalogue of the contents of so 
important a book as that of 'Leinster' has long been felt, and to 
supply this, I have now the honour to submit one in which I have 
endeavoured to specify every piece to be found in the manuscript, 
noting in all instances the page, column, and line where the 
composition commences, and giving the title or first line of each 

This paper, it will be observed, was read before the Academy 



prior to the acceptance by the Board of Trinity College of the pro- 
posal to lithograph the " Book of Leinster." 

The work, at the time of Dr. Atkinson's appointment, had 
advanced during the few months of Mr. Gilbert's supervision, and 
during his prolonged absence, as far as page 192 of the facsimile. 

Mr. Gilbert's state of health having permitted him to resume his 
occupations, and the year during which he remained ineligible under 
the by-law having expired, his name was replaced on the list of 
eligibles for Council, and on his re-election as a member of Council 
on March 16, 1878, Dr. Atkinson voluntarily resigned the Librarian- 
ship in order that Mr. Gilbert might be, as he was, re-elected to that 
office. Dr. Atkinson did not, however, regard himself as freed from 
the duties imposed on him by the resolution of April 22, 1876, and 
continued to supervise and conduct the preparation of the " Book of 
Leinster " for the press, as from the date of his appointment to that 
duty, with the full concurrence of the Committee. 

Towards the end of last year, however, when the work of transcrip- 
tion was nearly completed, and there remained the important task of 
preparing the introduction, Mr. Gilbert, alleging that, as Librarian, 
he was the proper person to discharge the duty of supervising the 
"Book of Leinster," under the terms of the resolution of April 22, 
1876, demanded of Dr. Atkinson that he should withdraw from the 
performance of that duty. There had been several meetings of the 
Committee during the year, at which Mr. Gilbert had been present, 
in one of which an important matter bearing on the " Book of 
Leinster " had been considered without any objection being made 
by Mr. Gilbert to the action of Dr. Atkinson in supervising the 

Upon learning from Mr. Gilbert for the first time that he con- 
sidered himself wronged in the matter. Dr. Atkinson at once brought 
this state of facts under the notice of Council at their next meeting, 
December 2, 1878, declaring his willingness to withdraw if it were 
decided that he had been entrusted with the duty merely in his 
capacity of Librarian \ but, otherwise, expressing his desire to con- 
tinue and complete the work with which he had been charged by the 
resolution of the Committee. Council on that occasion directed that 
a report should be made of all the resolutions passed in reference to 
the editorship of the " Book of Leinster." This report was accord- 
ingly prepared and presented at the meeting of January 20, 1879, 
to the Council, who decided that it should be referred to this Com- 
mittee, as involving a matter primarily within their jurisdiction. 
Accordingly, in pursuance of this reference, the Committee took the 
report into their consideration, and passed the following resolution : — 

"That by their resolution of April 22, 1876, this Committee 
appointed Dr. Atkinson, therein described by his then official desig- 
nation of Librarian, to supervise the publication of the ' Book of 
Leinster ' in its passage through the press, and, on the completion 


of the work, to prepare such prefatory matter as might seem to him 
suitable as an introduction to the work ; 

" That such duty was entrusted to him on the ground of his 
personal fitness to discharge it, and not in his official character as 
Librarian for the time being ; and 

" That the Committee therefore consider that Dr. Atkinson con- 
tinues to be still charged with the duties so entrusted to him." 

Mr. Gilbert has not, however, accepted their construction of 
their own resolution, and does not withdraw his claims. 

Dr. Atkinson, being thus authoritatively recognized as the respon- 
sible editor, then took steps to prepare his introduction to the work, 
and accordingly, as was natural, applied to Professor O'Looney to be 
furnished with the catalogue referred to in the minutes of December 
14, 1872, and which had been submitted by him to the Academy in 
the year 1873, and which, therefore, should have been in the posses- 
sion of the Academy. Professor O'Looney, who had up to this time, 
Dr. Atkinson informs the Committee, worked harmoniously under 
his supervision, declined to furnish the catalogue. On this refusal 
being made known to the Committee, they passed a resolution on 
February 15, 1879 — 

"That, observing in the minutes that a descriptive catalogue of 
the * Book of Leinster ' by Professor O'Looney was laid before the 
Committee on December 14, 1872, Professor O'Looney be requested 
to send in now that catalogue to the Committee, and also to furnish 
the certificate of Dr. Sullivan and Mr. Gilbert as to the amount pay- 
able for it ; and that a copy of this resolution (together with a copy 
of the minute above referred to, and the resolution thereon) be com- 
municated to Professor O'Looney, with a request that he will be 
good enough to let the Committee have his answer before or at its 
meeting on February 22." 

To this request of the Committee Professor O'Looney refused to 
accede, in a letter of February 22, in which he alleged as follows : — 

" Having prepared the present work to accompany the Academy's 
edition of the ' Book of Leinster,' I submitted it to the Irish Manu- 
scripts Committee, and it was approved by the Committee at its 
meeting on December 14, 1872, as appears from the minutes and 
resolutions of the Committee. I now only await the requisite order 
to put it to press as on the former occasions. 

" With reference to the certificates for payment which your Com- 
mittee asks me to send in, there will be no difficulty when the work 
is in print." 

The Committee, finding no such acceptance of an introduction 
in their minutes, and recognizing the impropriety of incurring ex- 
penses in printing a document that had never been submitted to the 
inspection of the responsible editor, and of the nature, extent, and 
execution of which he had consequently no means of judging, 
informed Professor O'Looney that if the catalogue, as prepared by 



him, were not furnished by a given day, Dr. Atkinson would be 
requested to proceed with the work with such materials as are at his 

The time fixed having expired, and the catalogue not having 
been brought in by Professor O'Looney, Dr. Atkinson, in pursuance 
of the direction of the Committee, began his preparation of the intro- 
duction without the assistance of Professor O'Looney's catalogue. 
In order to facilitate the performance of this lengthy task, Dr. Atkin- 
son gave certain directions to the Academy's scribe, Mr. O'Longan, 
whereupon Mr. Gilbert personally interposed, and told Mr. O'Longan 
that, in his opinion, Dr. Atkinson had no right to interfere. On this 
interposition being reported to the Council, Mr. Gilbert made a 
statement at the Council table that he was himself now engaged in 
printing an introduction to the publication. If this preface be either 
the document prepared by Professor O'Looney or founded upon it, 
as Professor O'Looney, in his letter of February 22, expHcitly asked 
leave from this Committee to put his catalogue to the press as an 
introduction to the work, the Committee do not undertake to explain 
this statement of Mr. Gilbert of his wholly unauthorized printing of 
such prefatory matter. 

The Committee having, on the application of Dr. Atkinson, 
authorized Mr. O'Longan to transcribe the headings of several tracts 
and articles in the " Book of Leinster," that work is being proceeded 
with by Mr. O'Longan, without further interference from Mr. Gilbert. 

The entire work is now Hthographed, though not finally revised. 
It contains 401 pages, of which upwards of 200 have been carried on 
under the supervision of Dr. Atkinson, while the preceding pages, 
from 74-193, were, owing to the absence of Mr. Gilbert, and the 
reluctance of the Committee to take any action so long as there 
remained any hope of Mr. Gilbert's being able to resume his duties, 
left without any direct responsible supervision. 

Council has directed that it be intimated to the Academy's 
printer, that no printing in connection with the " Book of Leinster " 
will be regarded as done on the credit of the Academy unless 
sanctioned by the Manuscripts Committee. 

Whereupon the following amendment was proposed by Dr. 
Hayden, and seconded by Dr. Madden : — 

" That the Academy consider it desirable that all the arrange- 
ments requisite to complete the publication of the ' Book of 
Leinster,' including the Introduction and preliminary matter, shall 
continue to be entrusted to the present Librarian of the Academy, 
under whose supervision the undertaking was commenced ; that the 
Council be requested to afford him all requisite facilities within their 
power for the satisfactory execution of the work, and that the report 
now presented to the Academy be referred back to the Council for 
reconsideration in the foregoing respects." 



A division was taken, and it appeared that there were 56 votes 
against the amendment, and 26 votes for it. • • i 

The President having declared the amendment lost, the origmal 
motion for the adoption of the report was put, and declared carried. 

The following passages are taken from the mi7iutes of the Proceedings 
of the Royal Irish Academy, with reference to the publication of 
the " Book of Leinster : 

1874. March 16. — General Meeting. Annual Report. 

" Important work continues to be carried on under super- 
vision of the Librarian [Mr. Gilbert] in the department of Irish 
Manuscripts. The arrangements for the production of an edition of 
the ' Book of Leinster,' by the joint action of the Academy and of 
Trinity College, have been concluded, and the work has been com- 
menced. From specimens of it now before you, there is every 
reason to expect that it will be carried out satisfactorily." 

1874. November 9. — Address of the Fresidejit, William 
Stokes, M.D. 

" The ' Book of Leinster,' from the Library of Trinity College, 
is now in the hands of the transcribers, under the superintendence of 
our Librarian [Mr. Gilbert]." 

1875. March 16. — General Meeting. Annual Report. 

" The work of transcribing and lithographing ancient Irish texts 
continues to be carried on under the supervision of our Librarian, 
Mr. Gilbert. A facsimile transcript of the ' Book of Leinster ' has 
been executed, as far as page 100." 

Statement made by the Librai'ian, J. T. Gilbert, with reference to the 
reprodtiction of the " Book of Leinster " on the occasion of the 
Special Meeting of the Royal Irish Academy, Ap?'il 18, 1879. 

The reproduction of our chief ancient manuscripts in the Irish 
language in lithographic facsimile was originated by me, as Librarian 
of the Academy. In this way I successfully completed the reproduc- 
tion of " Leabhar na h'Uidhri " and " Leabhar Breac." I was then, 
by the Committee of Irish Manuscripts, requested to undertake the 
supervision through the press of the " Book of Leinster," and to 
arrange all details in connection with it on behalf of the Committee. 
Under this authority I laid down the plan for the execution of the 
entire work, each page of which was to be carefully collated by 
Professor O'Looney, whose valuable descriptive catalogue of the 
contents was revised by me, with the intention of having it prefixed 
to the volume. In the Annual Report presented to the Academy 



in March, 1875, ^^e Council stated as follows, in reference to my 
labours on the " Book of Leinster : " — 

" The work of transcribing and lithographing ancient Irish texts 
continues to be carried on under the supervision of our Librarian, 
Mr. Gilbert. A facsimile transcript of the ' Book of Leinster ' has 
been executed as far as page 100." 

Shortly after this period the state of my health obliged me to 
relinquish all literary work for some time, and Dr. Atkinson was 
elected Librarian of the Academy in my place. The Committee of 
Irish Manuscripts subsequently passed a resolution entrusting the 
care of the " Book of Leinster" to the new Librarian of the Academy. 
After my return, Dr. Atkinson, at a public meeting of the Academy, 
resigned the Librarian ship, and I was re-elected to the office. As 
he made no reservation whatever in relation to the Book of 
Leinster," I concluded that my re-election replaced that work also in 
my care, more especially as no instance is on record of work of this 
class having been done here by any but the Librarian of the Academy. 
I found that this view of the case was also entertained by a dis- 
tinguished vice-president of the Academy, and by several eminent 
members, who urged me not to abandon a work for which they con- 
ceived I was responsible as Librarian of the Academy, under their 
vote which replaced me in my original position. It is also to be 
borne in mind that the Librarian is the officer, not of the Council or 
of Committee, but of the Academy at large. 

It would have been desirable that the printed report in our 
hands should have given the names of those who, under the designa- 
tion of the " Irish Manuscripts Committee," are referred to as having 
certified to the personal fitness of an editor of works on Irish history 
in the Irish language. Had their names been placed before the 
Academy, it would have been seen that none of these gentlemen 
who undertook to deliver this judgment have ever printed any 
volume on the Irish language, or any other work in that line, which 
would entitle them to be accepted as authorities on such a subject. 
Dr. Atkinson, to whose personal fitness they have testified, has 
never, so far as I am aware, published any volume on the language 
or history of Ireland. This, of course, is not meant in any way to 
disparage the acquirements of these gentlemen in other departments. 

I have only to add that, so far as I am personally concerned, 
there is no emolument whatever connected with the work on the 
" Book of Leinster," and that throughout the entire affair I have 
been influenced solely by a sense of public duty. 

Names of the members of the Irish Manuscripts Committee who 
passed the resolution as to the " personal fitness " of the proposed 
editor of the "Book of Leinster" on January 25, 1879 — 

Rev. M. H. Close, 
w. j. o'donnavan. 

A. G. RiCHEY. 

Sir S. Ferguson, 
J. K. Ingram. 



Royal Irish Academy House, 19, Dawson Street, 

Dublin, January 14, 1878. 

We, the undersigned members of the Corporate Body of the 
Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, desire hereby to place on record our 
objections to and protest against the course proposed to be adopted 
for the purpose of effecting alterations in the provisions of the will of 
Timothy Cunningham, who bequeathed to this Academy the sum of 
one thousand pounds, the interest on which he desired should be 
disposed of in such premiums as the members of the Academy shall 
think proper, for the improvement of natural knowledge, and other 
objects of their institution. 

We dissent from the allegation put forward in the name of the 
Council of this Academy — that deserving recipients are not to be 
found in Ireland for premiums out of the Cunningham Fund ; and 
were it not invidious, we could here mention several distinguished 
gentlemen whose labours are eminently entitled to such recognition 
and reward. 

We do not agree with the statement that difficulties exist in 
carrying out the intentions of the testator, and we are of opinion 
that adequate measures have not hitherto been taken to make known 
publicly the existence of such a fund, and its being available to those 
engaged in the cultivation of science, literature, and archaeology. 

We believe that the proposed allocation of any portion of this 
fund to the printing of Transactions or Proceediiigs of this Academy 
would be an unwise and impolitic deviation from the intentions of 
the testator, and one which would tend to weaken public confidence 
in the institution, and possibly have the effect of preventing other 
bequests to this Academy. 

We protest against the course adopted of seeking to interfere 
with any portion of our corporate funds, without having, in the first 
instance, submitted the matter to the decision of all the members of 
our body, resident both in Dublin and elsewhere. Such an inter- 
ference we consider to be contrary to the laws, regulations, and 
usages of the Academy, and of other corporate bodies, and if 




permitted to pass unnoticed, one likely to form a precedent perilous 
to the interests of the members at large. 

We consider that by adopting proper steps, and without making 
any change whatever in the terms of the bequest, the Cunningham 
Fund might be administered so as effectively to promote the higher 
branches of science, literature, and archaeology among our country- 
men, by a liberal but judicious allocation of the interest in the form 
of premiums, to be awarded from time to time. 

We desire that this, our statement, shall be placed on record on 
the minutes of the Academy, and of the Council ; that the Secretary 
of the Academy shall forward a copy of it to his Excellency the Lord 
Lieutenant, who, under our charter, is the Official Visitor of the 
Academy ; and that copies of it shall also be sent officially, by the 
Secretary, to the Right Hon. the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and 
to the Right Hon. the Master of the Rolls in Ireland. 


O'CoNOR Don, M.P. 
Henry Hennessy, 

Fellow of the Royal Society of London ; 
late Vice-President of the Royal Irish 

John T. Gilbert, 

Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, Lon- 
don ; late Member of the Council and 
Librarian of the Royal Irish Academy. 

S. M. MacSwiney, M.D., 

Fellow of the College of Physicians in 

T. More Madden, M.D. 
William Hellier Bailey, 

Fellow of the Linnsean Society, etc. 

William John Fitzpatrick, 

J.P., LL.D. 
Parke Neville, C.E. 
John O'Rorke, P.P. 
H. Leonard, 

Fellow of the Geological Society. 

A. Hanegan. 

John O'Hanlon, C.C. 

George Charles Garnett, 

M.A., T.C.D. 
Patrick F. Moran, D.D., 

Bishop of Ossory.T 

R. R. Madden, F.R.C.S.E. 
John Casey, LL.D., 

Fellow of the Royal Society of London, 
and Member of the Council of the Royal 
Irish Academy 

John Cornelius O'Calla- 

James Stewart, M.A. ; Cantab. 
Brian O'Looney, 

Professor of Irish, C.U.I. 

John Campbell, M.B., T.C.D. 
James Apjohn, M.D., 

Late Vice-President of the Academy. 

W. H. Hardinge, 

Late Member of the Council and Treasurer 
of the Royal Irish Academy. 

W. K. Sullivan, LL.D. 

President Queen's College, Cork ; late 
Secretary of the Royal Irish Academy. 

A. FiTZGiBBON, C.E., London. 


President of St. Jarlath's College, Tuam. 

Robert Day, Junior, Cork. 
J. J. MacCarthy, R.H.A. 
Sylvester Malone, P.P. 
Gilbert Sanders. 
William Andrews. 
George Sigerson, M.D. 
Maurice Lenihan, J.P., Lime- 

W. H. Stacpoole Westropp. 


J. J. O'Callaghan, F.R.I.A.I. 
George Fottrell, Junior. 
William Frazer, F.R.C.S.I. 
William Dillon. 



Cunningham Fund — Decision of the Master of the Rolls. 

In the High Court of Justice in Ireland.* 
Chancay Division. 

Master of the Rolls. 

In the Matter of the Royal Irish Academy, and in the Matter 
of the 52nd Geo. 3, c. loi, intituled "An Act to provide a 
Summary Remedy in case of Abuse of Trusts created for 
Charitable Purposes." 

Scheme for the regulation and management of the bequest of one 
thousand pounds made by the will of Timothy Cunningham, 
formerly Gray's Inn, in the county of Middlesex, dated tenth 
June, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine, to the 
Royal Irish Academy, for the purpose of being disposed of in 
such premiums as the said Academy should think proper, for 
the improvement of natural knowledge, and other objects of 
their Institution, and of the stocks and funds now representing 
such bequest. 

The said bequest, with the interest and dividends, which have 
from time to time been added thereto, amounting to the sum of two 
thousand six hundred and eighteen pounds, nine shillings, and five- 
pence. Government new Three per cent. Stock, now standing in the 
books of the Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland, in the 
name of the Royal Irish Academy, after payment thereout of 
the costs of the proceedings in this Matter, and order herein, shall 
henceforward constitute and be called " The Cunningham Bequest 

The Annual Income of said fund shall be applied as follows : — 

I St. In premiums of an honorary character, such as medals and 
other marks of distinction of a like nature, to be awarded from time 
to time by the Council, for the time being, of the Royal Irish 
Academy, to persons rendering eminent services in the improvement 
of knowledge in Science, Polite Literature, or Antiquities. 

2nd. In pecuniary premiums, to be awarded, from time to time, 
by said Council to the authors of the best Essays (by said Council 
considered worthy of such premiums) upon subjects connected with 
Science, Polite Literature, or Antiquities, such subjects to be pro- 
posed by said Council, when and in such manner as they shall 
think fit. 

^ R.I. A. Minutes, Session 1878-79, pp. 93-95. 



3rd. In the publication, under the title of " Cunningham Prize 
Memoirs," of such Papers in Science, Polite Literature, or Antiqui- 
ties, communicated to the Academy, as, in the opinion of the said 
Council, may possess eminent merit. 

4th. If, after providing for the several purposes aforesaid, any 
balance of said annual income shall remain undisposed of, same 
shall be applied for the purpose of increasing future pecuniary 
premiums, to be awarded under clause two, as the said Council shall 
think most expedient. 

Dated this i6th day of December, 1878. 

Edward Sullivan, M.R. 

Filed nth of March, 1879. 



Sir Humphrey Gilbert, soldier and navigator, born in 1539, was 
the second son of Otho Gilbert, of Compton, Devonshire. Sir 
Walter Raleigh was his step-brother. He was educated at Eton and 
Oxford, and applied himself to the study of navigation and the art 
of war. He served under Sir Henry Sidney in Ireland, and was 
knighted by him at Drogheda, January i, 1570. He married Anne, 
daughter of Sir Anthony Ager, of Kent, by whom he had five sons 
and one daughter. In 157 1 he was returned as M.P. for Plymouth. 
In the autumn of 1572 Gilbert was sent to the Netherlands with an 
expedition which failed. For the next five years, 1573-8, Gilbert 
lived in retirement at Limehouse, and was visited by George Gas- 
coigne, the poet. Here he wrote the " Discourse of a Discovery for 
a New Passage to Cataia," and a treatise about '* Newfoundland and 
the West Indies." 

In June, 1583, Gilbert sailed out of Plymouth Sound with a fleet 
of five ships — the Delight^ Raleigh^ Golden Hind^ Swallow^ and 
SqtdrreL In July he sighted Newfoundland, and in August went 
ashore and took possession of the harbour of St. John in the Queen's 
name, and thus planted the first English colony in North America. 

Gilbert left St. John with other ships on August 20 with the 
object of searching the coast towards the South, and on August 29 
the ship Delight struck aground and was lost, with the learned 
Hungarian, Stephen Parmenius. Gilbert then changed his course 
for England, and on September 9, in the afternoon, after a storm 
south of the Azores, he was seen sitting abaft the Squirrel with a 
book in his hand. Whenever he came near the Hind^ he was heard to 
utter the well-known words, " We are as near to heaven by sea as by 

At midnight the watch on board the Golden Hind, observing the 
lights of the Squirrel to disappear suddenly, cried out, " The general 
was cast away ! " which was too true ; for in that moment the frigate 
was devoured and swallowed up of the sea. 

Although usually described as a navigator, Gilbert was more of a 
soldier than a seaman. 

Another of his treatises was written probably at Limehouse, en- 
titled " The Erection of (Queen Elizabethes) Achademy in London for 
Education of her Majesties Wardes and others the youth of nobility 
and gentlemen." From a literary point of view, it adds more to 
Gilbert's fame as a gentleman and a scholar, than anything he ever 
undertook either as a soldier or a colonist. 

^ *' Dictionary of National Biography," vol. xxi., p. 327. 



The family of Costello derives name and lineage from Hostilio, 
second son of Gilbert de Angulo, one of the knights who accom- 
panied Strongbow in his invasion of Ireland. The eldest son, 
Jocelyn, took the name of Nangle, and his line settled there, assuming 
the title of putative Barons of Navan. Hostilio accompanied his 
father on an expedition to Meath, but returning to Connaught, his 
country became known as Mac Hostilio's country, his descendants 
gradually acquiring the name of Costello, with the popular title of 
Lords of Ballyhaunis. The family owned three castles, built for 
them by William de Lacy. On the occasion of a commission being 
despatched by Elizabeth to ascertain the extent of Mac Costello's 
country, the commissioners returned, unable to fulfil their mission, 
" through the hard passage and travel thither, by means of the great 
bogs, woods, moors, and mountains, and other evil ways in and to 
the same barony." 

Some of the family left the country in Cromwell's time, became 
Grandees of Spain, and entered the army of the King of Spain, 
notably one Dudley Costello, who, returning to Ireland, was murdered 
in the mountains. A romantic history remains of Dudley's son, who 
was sheltered by his humble foster-father, and brought up as the 
poor man's son. The estates of Costello having been given to the 
planted Dillons, a price was set on the young Irish-Spaniard's head. 
The knightly conduct and daring of the youth attracting notice, his 
foster-father, in a burst of pride, confessed his ancient lineage, where- 
upon young Dudley Costello asserted his right, and fought and 
killed Tobias Dillon, who was commissioned to destroy him. The 
young hero of the tale was himself killed some months later by a fall 
from his horse, near the pass of Ballagh-a-derreen, and the barony of 
Costello remained with the Dillons. The mother of George Canning 
was a Costello, whose father settled in Dublin in the eighteenth 

* Notes gathered from ** Norman and Celtic Pedigrees in Ireland," by John 
D'Alton, B.L. Dublin, 1847. 




Memorandtim made by Sir John T. Gilbeft on Grants by Parliament^ 
for the Master of the Rolls' Series^ May 6, 1898. 

The question is frequently asked, why is there no complete and 
accurate history of Ireland ? As partly answering this inquiry, the 
following explanation may be given. 

It is not generally known that the majority of the original records 
of the Anglo-Normans in Ireland have been lost. Several authentic 
documents elucidating affairs in Ireland at the period of the Anglo- 
Norman settlement, and illustrating various stages and incidents of it, 
are, however, extant in chartularies or registers of monasteries in 
which they were entered, for security, in former ages. 

So many of the registers have perished that at present only four 
of them are known to exist. They are those of St. Mary's, St. 
Thomas, the Hospital of St. John, DubHn, and the Priory of 
Tristernagh in Meath. They are written in obscure, contracted 
Latin, intelligible only to experts in palaeography. 

The first of these — that of St. Mary's Abbey — has been edited by 
Sir John Gilbert in the Rolls' Series, and one portion of that of St. 
Thomas has also appeared in the same series. To complete the 
entire of the registers it would be only requisite to publish about 
three further volumes of similar size. These publications would 
supply the chief authentic documents now extant for elucidating the 
history of Ireland in the period to which they belong. Of each of 
the manuscripts there exists only a single copy, and its loss to history 
through any casualty would be irretrievable. 

That Ireland has reasonable ground for seeking the Governmental 
publication of these important materials towards the elucidation of 
her authentic history will, it is submitted, appear from the following 
details as to what has been done at the expense of the United 

In 1857 the Treasury sanctioned the undertaking of an ex- 
penditure, subject to annual votes from the House of Commons, for 

433 2 F 



the publication of Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and 
Ireland during the middle ages; each book to be entrusted to a 
qualified editor selected by the Master of the Rolls in England, under 
special regulations. 

This undertaking, styled the " Rolls' Series," was begun in 1858, 
and has been continued to the present time. The requisite funds 
have been included under a sub-head in the annual estimate sub- 
mitted to the House of Commons for the Public Record Ofifice, 
London, of which the Master of the Rolls in England is head. 

The total number of volumes issued and in progress in the Rolls' 
Series for Great Britain and Ireland from the commencement in 1858 
to the year 1898 has been 230. 

Of these there were for England 219 volumes. 
„ „ „ Ireland 11 „ 

Supposing Ireland to have been allowed one-third of what has 
been thus expended, she should have had 73 volumes. From this 
number, deducting the above 11, there would be a balance of 62 
volumes yet to be published for Ireland by Government. 

The late Sir Edward Sullivan, when Master of the Rolls in 
Ireland, proposed to the Treasury to authorize the publication of a 
series of historic materials and documents for Ireland, to be carried 
on under direction of the Master of the Rolls in Ireland, subject to 
regulations similar to those sanctioned by Government for England 
and Scotland. Sir Edward Sullivan at the same time recommended 
some manuscripts of the early Anglo-Norman period in Ireland which 
he proposed should be edited by Sir John Gilbert, LL.D., F.S.A., 
who had edited for Government the " Facsimiles of National Manu- 
scripts of Ireland," as well as three volumes of Anglo-Norman and 
Latin documents connected with Ireland, in the Master of the Rolls' 
Series. In view of the recommendation. Sir John Gilbert prepared 
some manuscripts of this class for the press, a work involving much 
labour, requiring special qualifications and proficiency in mediaeval 
writings, historic literature, and paleography. 

The sudden death of Sir Edward Sullivan, and other circumstances, 
impeded further progress till the subject was again brought before the 
Treasury by the present Master of the Rolls in Ireland. 

In reply to his communications, the Treasury intimated their 
unwillingness to have a separate series of historic publications for 
Ireland, and stated that any Governmental work of that class should 
be under direction of the Master of the Rolls in England. 

The want of authentic materials for the history of the early 
Anglo-Norman settlement in Ireland, and the non-inclusion of 
materials on that subject in the Rolls' Series, caused considerable 
public dissatisfaction. Some of the points connected with this 
matter of non-publication were commented on in letters in the 
Times, They were also brought under notice in the House of 



Commons, and a promise was given there by Mr. Jackson, Secretary 
of the Treasury, that the subject should have the attention of the 
Government. The result was that^ under the direction of the Master 
of the Rolls in England, and with the sanction of the Treasury, Sir 
John Gilbert was authorized to edit a valuable manuscript, which in 
former times had been removed from Dublin to the Bodleian 
Library, Oxford. 

This was one of the registers of the Abbey of St. Thomas, 
Dublin, founded by King Henry II. in honour of St. Thomas a 
Becket. The register contained part of a collection, made about the 
year 1260, of documents connected with Ireland in the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries. This publication, issued in the Rolls' Series in 
1889, was very favourably received by the press and the public. Its 
contents have been repeatedly referred to in every work since 
published on Ireland in connection with the times to which the 
register relates. 

The editor, in the preface (p. xviii.), specially mentioned that 
another volume would be requisite to complete the historic materials 
in the first volume. 

For authority to proceed with the printing of the concluding 
volume and of another unique collection of correlative documents, 
application was duly made to the Master of the Rolls in England, 
but the requisite permission could not be given until the Treasury 
sanctioned the insertion of the allocation in proper form in the 
estimates for the year, and this has not as yet been done. 

It has been stated that the Treasury desires that the Rolls' Series 
should be brought to a close, that no new work has been lately 
undertaken in it, but that such of the publications as are incomplete 
are to be at once finished. Under this arrangement would obviously 
come the completion of the above-named register of the Abbey of 
Saint Thomas. However proper the termination of publications in 
the Rolls' Series concerning England may be, it cannot be satisfactory 
to Ireland, which, as appears above, has had very small share of the 
grants annually voted by the House of Commons for Chronicles and 
Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland. 

As an item of the public expenditure of the country the amount 
of cost of the entire work would be trivial. 

The position of Ireland in this matter may be contrasted with 
that of Scotland, which for many years past has been given 
£^\ooo, per annum, under vote of the House of Commons, for the 
publication of Scottish historical records ; and in the present year, 
1898, a Governmental allocation of ^450, for work on Welsh manu- 
scripts, appears in the Civil Service Estimates. 

On consideration of the foregoing statement, it is hoped that the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer may be able to see his way towards 
having the requisite steps taken for having the very moderate alloca- 
tion requisite to complete the above-named work for Ireland included 



in the Civil Service Estimates, under the same head as that under 
which sanction was given for the portion already executed. 

Extracts from Civil Service Estimates for 1898-9. 

Page 150. Public Record Office, London. 

Out of ;£32oo, for calendars and historical documents there is 
only ;£"2io, set down for Ireland for preparing Calendar of 
State Papers (162 5-1 679) in London Office. 

Page 262. Scotland. 

Allowance for publication of calendars, chronicles, memorials, 
and Scottish historical records, ;^iooo. 


Two Papers by Si?' John T. Gilbert^ LL.D. 

The following papers/ which were contributed by the late Sir 
John T. Gilbert, LL.D., on separate occasions to meetings of the 
Royal Irish Academy, were written by this eminent authority in 
what proved to be the closing part of his life, and were, it is evident, 
in the nature of introductory papers on a subject of considerable 
importance and considerable extent. 

The two papers form parts of the one subject — the second being 
a continuation of the first to a later period. 

They are now published from the original manuscripts which the 
author had before him at the time when they were read. In reading 
them, Sir John T. Gilbert, it is beUeved, supplemented his manuscript 
occasionally by verbal communications ; but unfortunately, as far as 
the first paper is concerned, the report that appeared in the daily 
papers the next day is extremely meagre, and not entirely accurate. 
Neither paper has hitherto appeared in the Proceedings^ owing to the 
fact that the author intended to add to them, or to contribute further 
to the subject ; but before that could be done his life was suddenly 
ended. The Council of the Academy having obtained possession of 
these manuscripts, retained them for a considerable time, as appears 
from the dates, in the hope that as the papers and books of Sir John 
T. Gilbert were being examined and gone through after his death by 
others, further materials in manuscript might be found which would 
add to the value of these contributions. Unfortunately nothing of 
the kind has appeared up to the present time, or is now ever likely 
to appear. 

On the occasions when these papers were read, there were 
exhibited by the author some photographs of title-pages or other 
pages out of some of the works particularly mentioned by him. 

In his second paper, Sir J. T. Gilbert refers to an Appendix in 
which he gave particulars of the productions of some Irish typo- 
graphers other than the King's printer. This Appendix is not now 

^ R.I. A. Proceedings^ vol. xxv., Section C, pp. 1 17-142. 



First Paper. 

Read June 22, 1896. 

It is to be regretted that no comprehensive work has yet been 
published on Irish Bibliography from the time of the invention of 
printing to the nineteenth century. An Irish Bibliography should, I 
submit, contain precise details in relation to the printed works of 
Irish authors as well as in reference to publications in connection 
with Ireland, or printed in Ireland. The preparation of such a 
bibliography would be an undertaking of more than ordinary diffi- 
culty. Many important works by Irish authors, or in relation to 
Ireland, were written in Latin, French, or Italian, printed on the 
Continent, and are now rare, costly, and in some cases unobtain- 
able. To read here a catalogue of books, with minute particulars 
in connection with each of them, would probably be deemed 
tedious, but perhaps some brief particulars on the subject may not be 

There does not appear to have been any printing in Ireland till 
1 55 1, when a volume, hereafter noticed, was produced in Dublin. 
Many years before 155 1 works of Irish writers were published on the 
Continent. Among these was that entitled " Manipulus Florum " — 
" Handful of Flowers" — by Thomas de Hibernis, printed at Piacenza 
in 1483, This very elegant specimen of typography is a small folio 
volume, printed in double columns, with the initial and capital letters 
painted red and blue. Towards the close of the fifteenth century one 
of the most important printing offices in Venice — that of Ottaviano 
Schott — was under the supervision of an Irishman, Maurice O'Fihely, 
known on the Continent as " Mauricius Hybernicus," or " de portu," 
from the harbour of Baltimore, lands in the vicinity of which belonged 
to his sept. [Works of O'Fihely were printed at Ferrara in 1499, 
and at Venice in 1501.] O'Fihely acted as Professor at Padua with 
great reputation, and was subsequently appointed Archbishop of 
Tuam. [Two of his books, printed in 1501 at Venice, are now laid 
on the table.] Prefixed to one of his works was " Mauritio Hibernico : 
divinarum humanarumque rerum interpreti eminentissimo." 

The first book printed in Ireland — already referred to — was the 
Book of Common Prayer, etc., after the use of the Church of England, 
published by Humphrey Powell in 155 1. The printing is in black 
letter, and the volume contains 140 leaves, exclusive of calendar, 
rubrics, and introductory matter. Powell had previously carried on 
printing work in London at his " dwelling above Holborn Conduit." 

Through the kindness of Dr. Abbott, Librarian of Trinity College, 
Dublin, I am enabled to lay before the Academy reproductions of 
the first and last pages of Powell's volume. I am indebted to Mr. 
Greenwood Pirn for the photographs, which are in a size smaller 
than that of the pages of the original book. 



The first book printed in the Irish language appeared at Dublin 
in 157 1. It is a small volume of fifty-four pages, each page con- 
taining on an average twenty-three lines. The contents — entirely 
in the Irish language — are an introduction to the Irish language, 
Catechism of the Church of England, forms of prayer, and other 
religious matters. The translations from English and Latin are 
stated on the title-page to have been made by John O' Kearney. 
The title-page also tells us that the book was printed at the cost of 
John Ussher, Alderman of Dublin, at the head of the Bridge, with 
the privilege of the great Queen Elizabeth. [Kearney, the translator, 
was treasurer of the Cathedral of St. Patrick, Dublin, and in his 
translations from the Irish he is said to have been assisted by 
Nicholas Walsh, Bishop of Ossory.] 

Of this book no copy is to be found in Ireland. Through the 
liberality of the Curator of the Bodleian Library, and the kindness of 
Mr. F. Madan, I am able to lay before the meeting facsimiles of the 
title and other pages of this very rare book. 

Some time since, on examining the papers of Archbishop Parker 
in the Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, a broadside 
came to light, containing an Irish poem printed in the same year and 
in the same house with the book I have just described. The subject 
of the poem is the Day of Judgment, and the author's name is 
given at head as . . . MacCrossan. Neither the poem nor its 
author is mentioned in any [of] our books. To the authorities at 
Cambridge I am indebted for the photograph of the poem now laid 
before you. 

Having, I fear, detained the meeting too long, I shall only ask 
leave to add a few observations on books printed before 1600 which 
contain notices in relation to Ireland. 

Of these one of the earliest is the " Dita Mvndi " of Fazio Uberti, 
printed at Florence and Vicenza towards the middle of the fifteenth 

It is not generally known that Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio, 
the eminent Itahan dramatist and novelist, composed a tragedy in five 
acts, the scene of which he laid in Limerick, described as " Limirico 
cittk nobile d'Hibemia." Among the dramatis personce were the King 
of Ireland, his general, chamberlain, and herald. The chorus was 
composed of men of Limerick. This tragedy, entitled " Arrenopia," 
was printed at Venice in 1583, with the portrait of the author on the 
back of the title-page. 

The last publication I shall here mention is one consisting only 
of four leaves, and of which but one copy is known to exist. It was 
printed at Rome in 1596, and entitled " Relatione della guerra 
d'Hibernia." The main subject is a victory obtained by the Earl 
of Tyrone over Sir John Norris, Cerent for England. Norris is 
described as a captain of great experience. The Earl of Tyrone the 
writer mentions as now styled " il gran principe Dioneel." 



Second Paper. 

Read June 14, 1897. 

At a former meeting I communicated to the Academy some details 
of Irish bibUography from the time of the introduction of printing to 
the year 1599. 

I now propose to bring under your notice some particulars in 
relation to Irish bibliography in the seventeenth century. 

This undertaking demands a greater amount of labour and investi- 
gation than might be supposed, as no work on Irish bibliography of 
that period has hitherto appeared in print, and most of the publica- 
tions referred to are of great rarity. 

In the seventeenth century the subject may be considered under 
the heads of publications issued in Ireland, in Great Britain, and on 
the Continent. 

During the greater part of the seventeenth century there was 
little printing in Ireland, except that which was carried on at Dublin. 
Under patent from the Crown a government official, designated " the 
King's Printer for Ireland," possessed a monopoly of printing, book- 
binding and bookselling in Ireland, with authority to exact heavy 
penalties from any persons who infringed his rights. 

The first King's Printer for Ireland was John Frankton, who, in 
1604, obtained from James I. an appointment of that office for life. 

Frankton's most important publications were versions of the New 
Testament and Book of Common Prayer in the Irish language, and 
the Reports of Sir John Davis in law French. 

In succession to Frankton as King's Printer for Ireland, and on 
the recommendation of the Society of Stationers of London, a patent 
for the office of printer general for Ireland was in 1618 granted to 
Felix Kingston, Matthew Lownes, and Bartholomew Downes, styled 
in the patent " citizens and stationers of London." Acting on behalf 
of the London Society of Stationers, these patentees erected suitable 
buildings at Dublin, with printing presses ; and Kingston, with others 
from London, commenced their labours with the publication in 1620 
of a folio volume of " The Statutes of Ireland," with the imprint — 

" Dublin, Printed by the Companie of Stationers of the Citie of 
London, Printers to the King's most excellent Majestic. 
Anno 1620. Cum privilegio regiae majestatis." 

In the following year " The Covntesse of Pembrokes Arcadia. 
Written by Sir Philip Sidney, Knight," was issued in folio with the 
imprint — 

DVB LIN, Printed by the Societie of Stationers. 1621. 
Cum Privilegio." 

With the same imprint there were subsequently published at 



Dublin works by Sir James Ware, James Ussher, Sir Richard Bolton, 
and Thomas Randolph. The post of King's Printer in Ireland was 
held in 1642 by William Bladen, who, in 1644, issued at Dublin an 
edition of the Psalter in English, now difficult to find. In 1643 the 
Irish Confederation established printing presses at Kilkenny and 
Waterford, then under their jurisdiction, and appointed Thomas 
Bourke as their chief printer. The type and machinery for these 
presses appear to have been brought from Flanders. After Dublin 
came under the rule of the Parliament of England Bladen was still 
employed to execute the Governmental printing in Ireland. He was 
prohibited from printing any matter without the sanction of the 
Council of State. 

On the restoration of Charles II. the office of King's Printer in 
Ireland was granted to John Crooke, a London bookseller, whose 
shop was at the sign of the Ship in St. Paul's Churchyard. After 
Crooke's death the appointment was obtained by Benjamin Tooke 
of London in 1669, with whom John Crooke was associated in 167 1. 
James II. granted the office of King's Printer in Ireland to James 
Malone, a Roman Catholic alderman of Dublin. William IIL, on his 
expedition to Ireland, brought with him a printer named Edward 
Jones, and a press at which his proclamations were printed. After 
the termination of the war in Ireland the post of King's Printer was 
granted to Andrew Crooke, son of John Crooke, already mentioned, 
in trust for his father's children, and he held the office at the end of 
the seventeenth century. During the closing years of that century 
there were, besides the King's printers, a few typographers in Dublin, 
and of their productions particulars are given in the Appendix to 
this paper. They appear to have been chiefly occupied with 
reprinting English publications. Of these printers may here be 
mentioned Joseph Ray, who printed the first Dublin newspaper, and 
published the original edition of Molyneux's Case of Ireland. During 
the seventeenth century several books in connection with Ireland 
were published in London. Numerous tracts and pamphlets 
emanating from thence were circulated for the purpose of promoting 
poHtical and other objects. Other English publications of the time 
were avowedly intended to expose what they designated the natural 
stupidity and simplicity of the Irish. 

We may now turn to our next section — the bibliography of publi- 
cations of Irish authors, and in connection with Ireland, printed on 
the Continent in the seventeenth century. Most of these were in 
Latin, but some were in Irish, English, French, Italian, or German. 
The places at which these works chiefly appeared were as follows : — 

Antwerp, Bologna, Bolsano in Tirol, Boulogne, Brussels, Cologne, 
Douai, Dunkerque, Frankfort, Innspruck, Lille, Lisbon, Louvain, 
Lucca, Lyons, Madrid, Mentz, Milan, Mons, Naples, Paris, Passau, 
Prague, Rome, Rouen, Spira, St. Malo, St. Omer, Saltzbach, Trient, 
Vienna, Wiirtzburg. The books published at these places varied in 



size from the folio to the octodecimo. In point of extent the greatest 
of them was the collection of the works of Duns Scotus in twelve 
folio volumes, edited entirely by expatriated Irishmen, and published 
at Lyons in 1639. 

Somewhat later in date were the folio volumes in which other 
exiled Irish scholars — Colgan and Fleming — transmitted to posterity 
surviving remnants of the ancient Gaelic Literature of Ireland. It 
may be added that few European publications of their age are now 
sought for with greater avidity, or rank higher in money value than 
some books published abroad by Irish editors of the seventeenth cen- 
tury. The Irish authors who wrote in Latin usually added to their 
names on the title-pages the word " Hibernus." In some cases they 
mentioned the part of Ireland to which they belonged, as in the case 
of Dr. John O'Dwyer of Cashel, who styled himself " Casseliensis," 
on the title-page of his treatise "Querela Medica," published at 
Mons in 1686. 

The books in the Irish language printed within this period were 
published at Brussels, Louvain, and Rome. Of books in English by 
Irish writers published on the Continent in the seventeenth century, 
two by Captain Gerald Barry deserve special notice, and are of 
extreme rarity. The first — a folio volume, with plates, published at 
Louvain in 1626 — contained a narrative of the famous siege of 
Breda, at which the author, with a regiment of Irish soldiers in the 
service of Spain, took an active part. Barry's second work, also in 
folio, with plates, issued at Brussels in 1634, was a discourse on 
miUtary discipline, with a treatise on fortifications and fireworks. The 
author indicated his nationality by styling himself "Garet Barry, 

In the French language many publications were devoted to the 
Life and Purgatory of St. Patrick. A French version of the History 
of the Geraldines of Ireland, published in 1697 at Dunkirk, is, from 
its extreme rarity, now regarded as one of [the] chief treasures of 
the bibliophiles of that town. In a similar category is the French 
narrative of affairs in Ireland, issued in 1696, without indication of 
the place of publication, or the name of the printer. 

Of the works in Italian connected with Ireland are the account 
of the battle of Benburb, 1646 ; John de Burgo's narrative of his five 
years' travels; the voyages of Giovanni Battista Pacichelli, 1685, 
unnoticed by bibliographers ; and the description of the rejoicings at 
Rome by the Irish there on the birth of the Prince of Wales. There 
are also large works in Italian on Saints Patrick, Brigid, Malachy, 
and Silanus, printed at Bologna, Venice, Naples, and Lucca. 

In German we have a version of the travels of Thomas Carve 
of Tipperary, who served as a military chaplain to the assassin of 



Our late Librarian and Vice-President, Sir John T. Gilbert, was 
the son of John Gilbert, who was Consul for Portugal and Algarve 
in Dublin. He was born in Dublin in 1829, and displayed very 
early a taste for historical study and investigation. In 185 1, when 
only twenty-two years of age, he wrote an essay on the Historical 
Literature of Ireland. In 1855 we find him Hon. Secretary, along 
with our former President, Dr. Todd, of the Irish Archaeological and 
Celtic Society. " To the exertions of the two secretaries it was 
mainly owing that that Society was, for many years, able to continue 
its publication of various works of the utmost importance in the 
history of Ireland " (Dr. Graves). His well-known and standard 
work on the " History of the City of Dublin " was commenced in the 
Irish Quarterly Review in 1852. It was afterwards brought out in 
a greatly enlarged form in 3 volumes^ 8vo, during the years 1854-59. 
He joined the Academy in 1855, and was elected on the Council 
thereof in March, 1856. In consequence of his extensive knowledge 
of books and of Irish literature, he was appointed to the Librarian- 
ship of the Academy, which office he filled for thirty-five years, until 
his death. The Academy marked its high sense of the value of his 
"History of the City of Dublin" by awarding him, in consequence 
of that work, its Cunningham Gold Medal in 1862. In 1867 he was 
appointed Secretary of the Public Record Office, without his having 
been already in any public employment — a sign of the estimation in 
which he was held by the Irish Government of the day. He held 
that office until the abolition of it in 1875. As custodian of the 
Academy's ancient Irish Manuscripts, his attention was drawn to the 
desirability of reproducing and publishing the most valuable of 
them ; and it was at his suggestion, in 1869, that the Council of the 
Academy began the work with the publication of the oldest of them, 
the " Leabhar na h-Uidhri," under his editorship. In 1892, the 
Royal University of Ireland, to show their appreciation of his 
services to Irish historical literature, admitted him to the degree 
of LL.D., honoris causa; and in 1897 the Lord Lieutenant of 

^ R.I.A. Minutes, Session 1898-99. 



Ireland conferred upon him the honour of knighthood. His paper, 
read to the Academy in June, 1896, "Notes on Irish Bibliography" 
— Notices on Books by Irish writers^ or in connection with Ireland, 
printed before a.d. 1600, was continued in June, 1897^ by Notes on 
similar books printed in the seventeenth century ; but this valuable 
work, as it doubtless would have been^ was left unfinished at the 
author's death ; it is, however, preserved for consultation in the 
Manuscripts room. 

The many works of Sir John T. Gilbert display his great ability, 
accuracy, conscientiousness, and acquaintance with the subjects in 
question ; they indicate also his untiring industry and perseverance, 
without which he could not have accomplished all that he did. 
There is good reason for the belief that his days were shortened 
by his devotion to his life-work. 

Sir John T. Gilbert was a Member of the Senate of the Royal 
University of Ireland, also Trustee of the National Library of Ireland, 
and Governor of the National Gallery of Ireland. He was a Member 
of the Council of the Pipe-Roll Society of London, also Fellow of 
the Society of Antiquaries, London, and a Member of the Biblio- 
graphical Society, etc. 



Contributions to the Irish Quarterly Review^ 3 volumes, 8vo, 
Dublin, 1 851-185 3 — 

No. II. Irish Historical Literature. June, 185 1. 

„ III. The Historic Literature of Ireland. September, 185 1. 

IV. The Celtic Records of Ireland. December, 185 1. 

„ V.-XII. The Streets of Dublin. Numbers I.-VIII. March, 
1852, to September, 1853. 

„ V. Irish Church History. March, 1852. 

„ VI. The Survey of Ireland, A.D. 1655-56. June, 1852. 

„ VII. The Brehon Laws Commission. September, 1852. 

„ VIII. Mr. Worsae on the Danes and Norwegians in Ireland 
December, 1852. 

„ IX. Reminiscences of a Milesian. March, 1853. 

„ X. Rev. Samuel Madden. June, 1853. 

The Historic Literature of Ireland : An Essay on the Publications 
of the Irish Archaeological Society. Reprinted from the Irish 
Quarterly Review. 8vo, pp. 64. Dublin, 1851. 

The Celtic Records of Ireland : An Analysis of Dr. O'Donovan's 
Edition of The Annals of the Four Masters." Reprinted 
from the Irish Quarterly Review. 8vo, pp. 113. Dublin, 

A History of the City of Dublin, With John Speed's Map of 
Dublin, A.D. 1 610. 3 volumes, 8vo. Dublin, 185 4-1 85 9. 

1854. Vol. i., pp. xvi., 438. 
1859. Vol. ii., pp. xxxvi., 336. 
1859. Vol. iii., pp. iv., 382. 




Ancient Irish Historical Manuscripts. From the Dublin Review^ 
No. C. 8vo, pp. 26. London, 1861. 

On the Life and Labours of John O'Donovan, LL.D. From the 
Dublin Review^ No. CIL 8vo, pp. 22. London, 1862. 

Record Revelations. A Letter on the Public Records of Ireland. 
By an Irish Archivist. 8vo, pp. viii., 90. London, 1863. 

On the History, Position, and Treatment of the Public Records of 
Ireland. By an Irish Archivist. Second Edition. 8vo, pp. 
xxiv., 201. London, 1864. 

English Commissioners and Irish Records. A Letter. By an Irish 
Archivist. 8vo, pp. viii., 64. London, 1865. 

History of the Viceroys of Ireland ; with Notices of the Castle of 
Dublin and its Chief Occupants in Former Times. 8vo, pp. 
xxxvi., 613. Dublin, 1865. 

Historic and Municipal Documents of Ireland, a.d. 1T72-1320. 
(Master of the Rolls Series.) 8vo, pp. Ixxxviii., 560. London, 

Facsimiles of National Manuscripts of Ireland. Selected and Edited 
under the Direction of Sir Edward Sullivan, Baronet, Master of 
the Rolls in Ireland. With Introductions and coloured plates. 
5 parts, imperial folio. Dublin and London, 1 874-1 884. 

Account of Facsimiles of National Manuscripts of Ireland. 8vo, 
pp. 356, Ixxi. London, 1884. 

A Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland, from a.d. 1641 to 
1652. With portraits and facsimiles. 3 volumes, 4to. Dublin, 

1879. Vol. i., pp. xlii., 850. 

1880. Vol. ii., pp. Ix., 546. 
1880. Vol. iii., pp. Ix., 464. 

History of the Irish Confederation and the War in Ireland, 1641 to 
1649. With portraits, plans and facsimiles. 7 volumes, 4to. 
Dublin, 1882-1891. 

1882. Vol. i., pp. Ixxxvni., 320. 

1882. Vol. ii., pp. cxxii., 430. 

1885. Vol. iii., pp. xiv., 408. 

1888. Vol. iv., pp. Ixvi., 342. 

1889. Vol. v., pp. xvi., 376. 

1890. Vol. vi., pp. viii., 444. 

1891. Vol. vii., pp. X., 320. 



Chartularies of St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin : with the Register of its 
House at Dunbrody, and Annals of Ireland. (Master of the 
Rolls' Series.) 2 volumes, 8vo. London^ 1884. 

Vol. i., pp. cviii., 536. 
Vol. ii., pp. clviii., 522. 

Register of the Abbey of St. Thomas, Dublin. (Master of the Rolls' 
Series.) 8vo, pp. liv., 470. London, 1889. 

Calendar of Ancient Records of Dublin, a.d. i 172-1730, in the 
Possession of the Municipal Corporation of that City. Illus- 
trated with facsimiles. Volumes i.-vii., 8vo. Dubhn, 1889- 

1889. Vol. i., pp. xvi., 530. 

1891. Vol. ii., pp. xxiv., 576. 

1892. Vol. iii., pp. xlviii., 580. 

1894. Vol. iv., pp. xxxii., 582. 

1895. Vol. v., pp. Ixii., 638. 

1896. Vol. vi., pp. XX., 624. 
1898. Vol. vii., pp. xxiv., 616. 

A Jacobite Narrative of the War in Ireland, 1 688-1 691. With 
portrait and facsimiles. 4to, pp. xvi., 200. Dublin, 1892. 

Documents Relating to Ireland, 1 795-1 804. With portraits and 
facsimile. 4to, pp. xxii., 264. Dublin, 1893. 

Maria Clementina Stuart, Styled Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, 
1 7 19-1735. With portrait and facsimiles. 4to, pp. xiv., 208. 
Dublin, 1894. 

" Crede Mihi : " The Most Ancient Register of the Archbishops of 
Dublin before the Reformation. With illustrations. 4to, pp. 
xii., 194. Dublin, 1897. 

Royal Irish Academy Facsimiles of Ancient Irish Manuscripts : — 

Leabhar na h-Uidhri. FoHo. Dublin, 1870. 

Leabhar Breac. Folio. Dublin, 1876. 

Book of Leinster. Folio, pp. i-ioo. Dublin, 1880. 

Letters and Contributions of the Secretary contained in the " Reports 
of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records in Ireland." 
I.-IX. 8vo. Dublin, 1869-187 7. 



Historical Manuscripts Commission Reports. — IRELAND. Folio 
and 8vo. London, 1870-1899. 

1870. \. — Earl of Charlemont; Earl of Rosse ; Lord Talbot de 

Malahide ; J. W. Bayly, Esq. ; Thomas Hewitt, Esq. ; 
Richard Caulfield^ LL.D. ; Corporations of Cork, 
Dublin, Kilkenny, Limerick, and Waterford. 

1871. n. — Marquis of Ormonde ; Earl of Granard; Earl of Rosse; 

The O'Conor Don, M.P. ; Major-General F. P. 
Dunne ; R. D. Lyons, M.D. ; Rothe's Register of 

1872. in. — Marquis of Ormonde; Earl of Granard ; Historical 

Memoirs of the Geraldine Earls of Desmond ; Parlia- 
mentary History of Ireland, by Hugh Howard, LL.D. 

1874. IV. — Marquis of Ormonde; Viscount Gormanstown ; Sir 
Richard O'Donnell, Bart. ; Trinity College, Dublin ; 
College of Irish Franciscans (Lou vain), Dublin. 

1877. VI. — Marquis of Ormonde. 

1879. VII. — Marquis of Ormonde. 

1881. VIII. — Marquis of Ormonde; Lord Emly; Lord Talbot de 
Malahide; The O'Conor Don, M.P. ; Trinity 
College, Dublin ; Diocesan Library, Derry. 

1883. IX. — Marquis of Ormonde, Duke of Leinster, Marquis of 
Drogheda, Lord Macartney, Earl of Leicester, 
Rinuccini Memoirs. 

1885. X. — Marquis of Ormonde, Earl of Fingall, Corporations of 
Galway and Waterford, Sees of Dublin and Ossory, 
The Jesuits in Ireland. 

1888. XI.— Marchioness of Waterford. 

i 891. XII.— Earl of Charlemont. Vol. i. 

1893. XIII.— Earl of Charlemont. Vol. ii. 

1895. XIV. — Marquis of Ormonde, Lord Emly. 

1897. XV. — Charles Haliday, Esq., of Dublin. 

1899. Marquis of Ormonde. 

Numerous contributions to " The Dictionary of National Biography," 
1 884-1 896, — biographical notices of Irishmen and others. 


Abeltshauser, Dr. I. G,, 50, 51, 54 

Abercorn, Lord, 192 

Academy, The, 2, 228, 230, 236, 252, 

264, 266, 267, 300 
Act of Settlement, 305 
" Acta Sanctorum," 105 
Acton, Lord, 279 
" Adamnan, Life of," 143 
Adare fairs, 136 
Aengus the Culdee, 89 
Aenus, 132 
Algerine corsairs, 379 
Algerine invasions, 300 
All Hallows' ground, 46 
*' Altus of St. Columbkille," 299 
Ancient Dublin muniments, 415 
"Ancient Irish Manuscripts," 94, 97 
Anglesey, Earl of, 277 
Anglo-Indian codes, 337, 340 
"Annals of the Four Masters," 88 
"Annals of Ulster," 339, 346, 348 
Annesley, 48 

Antiphonarium Benchorense, 134, 143 
Antrim, 296 

** Aphorismical Discovery," 214, 229, 
268-274, 277, 286, 296, 298, 300, 

303, 310, 317 
Appendix, 399 
Appleton, Dr., 193 
Aran islands, 69, 76 
Arbuthnot Missal, 107, 135 
Archceologia Cambrensis^ 76 
Archdall mansion, 49 
Archdall's "Monast'icon Hibernicum," 


Ardagh chalice, 196 
Arlington, Lord, 306 
Armagh, 1 12 

Armagh Library, 116, 134 
Armilla, gold, 116 
Armstrong, Andrew, 76, 77 
Arundel Library, 278 
Arnold, Thomas, M.A„ 363, 390 
Arundel of Wardour, Lord, 169, 278, 

Ascoli, M., 257 

Ashburnham Manuscripts, 304, 305, 312 
Atalya, Countess of, 334, 335 
Aikenamn, The, 74, 144, 260, 261, 267, 

304, 323, 33 1 » 339> 349 
Atkinson, Robert, LL.D., 337, 338, 

342, 344, 345, 346 
Atkinson, Dr. George, 363 
Atkinson, Mrs. Sarah, 332 
Auditor-General, 115 
Auditor's records, 115 
Audoen's, St., Dublin, 27 
Audoenus, St., 258 
Aughrim, battle of, 75 
Aughrim interference, 133 
Australia, Martin testimonial, 83 
Aventinus, 132 

Babington, C. C, 76 

Bagenal, Marshal, 113 

Baker, James, 3 

Baker, Morres, 3 

Baltimore, sack of, 301 

Baltinglass, Lord, 56 

Baltinglass rebellion, 293 

Bangor Antiphonary, 199 

Bankes, Mrs., 302, 303 

Banks, Sir John, 251, 286 

Bannatyne Club, 112 

Bantry Bay, 41 

Barbary Corsairs, 379 

Baron, Bonaventure, O.S.F., 327 

Barry, Thomas, C.C., 97 

Battle of Magh Rath, 94 

Beaconsfield, Lord, 237 

Beaufort, Miss, 57 

" Beauties of the Boyne," 150 

Bedford, Henry, M.A., 392 

Belfast, 175, 201, 202, 298, 357 

"Belfast, History of," 261 

Bell, Walter, 264 

Bellings, Christopher, 278 

Bellings, Sir Richard, 277, 295, 296, 

303, 304. 330 
Benedictines' house, 132 

2 G 


Beranger, Gabriel, 176, 200 
Beresford, Primate, 93, lOl, 1 16 
Berkeley Gold Medal, 201 
Bertrand, M., 286 
Betham, Sir William, 48, 57, 70 
Bibliography, Gilbert, 445 

Bibliotheca Hibernica," 148 
Bibliotheque de I'lnstitut, 136 
Bindon, S. H., 20, 24, 25, 26, 369 
Birch, W. de G., 260 
Blackrock, Dublin, 14 
Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine^ 1 24 
Bliss, W. H., M.A., 234, 316 
Blundell, Mrs., 394 
Board of Green Cloth, 375 
Bodleian Library, 29, 65, 70-72, 295, 

296, 303 
Bollandists, 105 
Bolton, Sir Richard, 50, 54 
Bom Successo Convent, 333, 334 
*' Book of Armagh," 108, 133, 170,305 
" Book of Ballymote," 179, 322, 324, 

338, 339, 346 
*' Book of Fermoy," 338, 339 
*' Book of Hymns," 89, 91 
*'Book of Kells," 170, 196, 199, 200 
*' Book of Lecan," 224, 230, 249,338, 

341, 346, 366 
"Book of Leinster," 89, 182, 198, 199, 

227, 228, 257, 341, 343, 349, 350 
" Book of Leinster," Report, 419 
*'Book of Oghams," 180 
** Book of Rights," 23 
Booterstown, 272 
Bordeaux, 3 
Borlase, Sir E., 303 
Borlase, Sir J., 302 
Borlase, W. C, M.P., 302 
Borrowes, Sir Erasmus Dixon, Bart., 

45. 46, 48 
Borrowes, Sir Kildare, 46 
Boston, U.S.A., 299 
Boswell's " Life of J ohnson," 288, 289, 

290, 291 
Boulogne, 163, 261 
Bourke, Mrs., 45 
Bournemouth, 184, 185, 186 
Bowood, 375 

Bradshaw, Henry, M.A., 213, 266, 312 
Brady, Cheyne, 66 
Brady, W. M., D.D., 325 
Brannickstown, 3, 7, 8, ii, 14, 160 
Brehon Laws, 141, 148, 196, 324, 348 
Brehon Laws Commission, 83, 99, 114, 

171, 176, 195, 321 
Brehon Laws Report, 349 
Brehonians, 143 
Brendan, St., 261 

Brewer, J. S., 126, 127, 128, 141, 156 

Bridget, St., 89, 258 

Bridson, Paul, 74 

Bristol Colony at Dublin, 258 

British Archaeological Society, i 

British Association, 75 

British Magazine^ 265 

British Museum, 65, 99, 125, 170, 173, 

196, 267, 304 
Broad Stone, Dublin, 74 
Broad Stone, Youghal, 74 
Bronze age, 150 
Buncrana, 40 

Burgundian manuscripts, 88 
Burgundy vandals, 132 
Burke, Sir Bernard, 52, 80, 1 14, II5, 

Burne-Jones, Sir E., 354 
Burrell, Mrs., 230, 381 
Burren, 69 

Bute, Marquis of, 284, 299 
Butler, Dean, 57, 112 
Butler, Lady Mary, 241 
Butler, Lord Arthur, 377 
Byrne, Miss, 50 
Byrnes of Mullinahac, 50, 5 1 

Caddell's ground, 46 

Cahirmoyle, 27 

Cain manuscript, 143 

C alder on, 193, 194, 286 

' ' Calendar of Ancient Records of 

Dublin," 4, 51, 336, 364, 379, 385 
Calendar of Irish Letters, 72 
Calendars of Rolls, 123, 141, 142 
Calendars of State Papers, 124 
Cal. Rot. Chart, 136 
Campbell, Dr. William, 288, 312 
Cambridge, 302 

"Cambrensis Irish Tracts," 135 
*' Camden's Remains," 68 
Camden Society, 204, 256 
Carbury House, 49, 56 
Carew, Mrs., 213 
Carew, Sir George, 72 
Carew Papers, 72, 147, 193, 314 
Carey, T. L., O.S.F., 316, 327 
Carlisle, Lord, 108, 139 
Carnarvon, Lord, 314 
Carson, Dr., 151 
Carte Papers, 219, 280, 295, 310 
Carton, 43, 365 

Cartwright, J. J., 239, 271, 283, 315, 

Castlecomer, 53 
Castletown Berehaven, 41 
Castletown of Upper Ossory, Lord, 

Cathach, the, 135 

Catholic Church of the Pale, 146 



Catholic University of Ireland, 88, 90, 

93, lOl, 103, 104, 183, 349 
Caulfield, Mrs., 135 
Caulfield, Richard, LL.D., 244, 300 
Cavan, 296 

•'Cavilli Speculum," 26 

Cecil, Sir Robert, 204, 292 

Celtic Dictionary, 104 

Celtic language, 84 

"Celtic Nations," 118 

" Celtic Records of Ireland," 97 

" Celtic Scotland," 108 

Celtic Society, 19, 37, 63 

"Chambers' Encyclopaedia," 117, 118 

Chappell, William, 219 

Charlemont, Lord, 62, 297 

Charles I., 239, 270 

Charles II., 82, 1 15, 304 

Chartularies, II2 

, "St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin," 

221, 306, 309, 312, 319, 366 

, " St. Thomas's Abbey, Dublin," 


Chartulary of Reading Abbey, 320 

Chartulary of Tristernagh, 322 

Chester, 258 

Childers, H. C, 307 

"Chronicles and Memorials of Great 

Britain and Ireland," 121, 124, 433 
Cistercians in Ireland, 307 
Clandeboye, Lord, 382 
Clanrickarde portrait, 314 
Cleary, P. T., O.S.F., 327 
Clibborn, Edward, 34, 35, 43, 79, 92, 

99, 102, 107, 116, 176 
Clonlifife Seminary, 349 
Close, Maxwell H., M.A., 321, 395 
Cock tavern, 51, 54 
Colgan, John, O.S.F., 88, 136, 198, 

325, 326 
Collegio Romano Library, 90 
Columba, St., 65, 82, io8, 131 
Columban manuscripts, Milan, 93 
Colum Cille's poem, St., 136, 139 
Commission of Inquiry, 126, 127, 139- 

"Common Prayer," Dublin, 250 

Commonwealth, 115 

Comparative philology, 177 

Compton Castle, i 

Compton, Peter, i 

Connaught, plantation of, 204, 272 

Connemara, 71, 78 

" Contemporary History of Affairs in 

Ireland," 268-274 
Conyngham, Burton, 49 
Cooney, Father, 327 
Cooper, Austin, 200, 201 
Coote, Sir C, 373 

Coote Street, 49 
Copper Alley, 57, 58 
Corbet, Miles, 301 
Cork, Bishop of, 54 
" Cormac's Glossary," 89, 106, 130 
Corporation of Dublin, 80, 131, 181, 
182, 309 

Corporation of Dublin Records, 120, 

131. 335» 373. 415 
Corpo Santo College, Lisbon, 332, 

334, 335 . 
Costello, Alicia, 3 
Costello family, 432 
Costello, John, 3, 6, 8 
Costello, Marianne, i, 3, 4, 6, 7 
Costello, Dr. Patrick, 3, 8 
Costello, Philip, 3, 6, 7 
Cottenham, 302 
Council Chamber, 130 
Cowan, J., D.D., 329 
Cowper, Lady, 285 
Cox, Sir Richard, 72, 271 
Coxe, H. O., M.A., 243, 267, 297 
Crannogues, 128 
Crawford, W. H., 251 
" Crede Mihi," 364 
Croker, J. W., 289, 290 
Cromwell, Oliver, 275 
Crooke, John, 250 
Crosby, James, 58 
Crow Street Theatre, 51, 54 
Crowe, J. O'Beirne, 105, 142, 147 
Cruise, Sir Francis, 394 
Culdee, 147, 148 
Cullen, Cardinal, 92, 93 
Cunningham Fund, 224-227, 233, 429 
Cunningham Fund, Protest, 224, 427 
Cunningham Gold Medal, 62, 91, 108 
Curran, J. P., 122 
Curryer's Lane, 46 
Curwin, Archbishop, 93 
Custom House, 58, 141 

Dalkey, 158 

Dallington, Sir R., 269 

D'Alton, John, 103 

Daly, Bishop, 133 

Daly's Club House, 44, 49 

Dancer, Samuel, 250 

D'Arbois de Joubainville, H., 286, 

3235 343 
Darby's coffee-house, 47 
Davies, Sir John, 261, 262 
Davis, Thomas, 301 
Dawson Street, 119, 157 
De Burgo, Thomas, D.D., 381 
Delany, Mrs., 4 
Delvin, Lord, 292, 293, 294 
Denmark Street, 3 



Denny family, 56 
Depositions, T.C.D., 27 1- 306 
Derby, 174 

'*De Rebus Eblanse," 336 

Dermot, King, 258 

Derricke, " Image of Ireland," 80 

Derry, Bishop, 116 

Derry Manuscript Bible, 137 

De Vere, Aubrey, 186, 286 

De Vesci, Lord, 169, 284 

Devonshire, 2, 160 

" Dictionary of National Biography," 

330> 333 
Dillon, Chrissie, 285 
Dillon, John, M.P., 285 
Dillon, John, Mrs., 392 
Dillon, Sir Martin, 363 
Dinas Dulin, 71 
Dineley's Irish Tour, 82 
Distribution books, 295 
Dixon, Sir Robert, 45, 46, 47, 48 
Dixon, Sir William, 46 
Dockwra, 23 

"Documents inedits sur I'histoire de 

France," 139 
" Documents relating to Ireland," 364, 

Dodder, 44 
Domesday Book, 179 
Dominick Street, 3 
Domvile, Sir Charles, 55 
Donegal, 88 
Doolin, W., 197, 198 
Dorr of Malaga, 16 
Doyle, H. E,, 329, 372 
Doyle, Richard, 81 
Drogheda, 373, 374 
Drogheda, Marquis of, 169 
Drummond, Thomas, 54 
Drummond, Mrs., 4 
Drummond family, 381 
Drummond Missal, 230, 234, 382 
Dublin, 49, 56, 57, 88, 89, Ii7-ii9» 

121, 302 

Dublin, Archbishops of, 146 ; arch- 
bishop's palaces, 203 ; castle, 43, 
57, 61, 62 ; city marshal, 182 ; Ex- 
hibition Buildings, 237 ; map, 82 ; 
market cross, 200 ; poll books, 42 ; 
prints, 369; records, 120, 131, 335, 
373 ; see, 145 ; synod, 93 

Dublin Daily Express^ 91 

Dublin Evening Mail, 119, 128-130, 

Dublin Evening Post, 183 
Dublin Library, 16 

Dublin Review, 33, 74, 93, 94, 96, 122, 

Dublin Society, 49 

Dublin University Magazine, 33, 66, 
74, 95 

Dufferin and Ava, Lord, 382 
Duffy, Sir Charles Gavan, 77 
Dun-Aengus, 76 
Dunne, Colonel, 147 
Dunne, General Plunket, 313 
Dunne, P. S., O.S.F., 325, 326, 327 
Du Noyer, George, 128, 174, 175 
Dunraven, Lord, 114, 135, 138, 139, 

148, 171, 196 
Dunsany, Lord, 48 
Dwyer, M. F., 67 

Ebel, Dr. Hermann, 180 
Eccles, Miss O'Conor, 393 
Edinburgh, 56 
Edinburgh Review, 286 
EdwardiVIL, 335 
Edwards, Edward, 295, 303 
Elgee, Miss, 77 
Eliot, Sir George, 43 
Elizabeth, grants of, 310 
Elrington, Dr., 105 
Ely, Lord, 46 

Emmet, Robert, portrait, 369 
Emmet, T. A., 370 
England, 170 
English aggressions, 118 
Ennis, 181 

Enniskillen, Lord, 199 
Ensor, John, 49 
Ercail, 70 
Erin, 144, 299 
Etymology of places, 177 
Ewen, St., 258 

"Facsimiles of National Manuscripts 
of Ireland," 168-171, 192, 193, 195- 
199, 206, 213-218, 230, 232, 242, 
243, 244, 246-252, 256, 259, 274- 
276, 292, 298, 307, 311, 313, 315, 
320, 323, 328, 332 

Facsimiles of National Manuscripts of 
Ireland, Account of, 242, 243, 256, 
259, 275, 276, 313, 332 

Fagan, T. J., P.P., 162, 333 
Falkland's Review," 134 

Farnham, Lord, 114 

Farrell, Chief Constable, 375 

Farrelly, T. J., D.D., 242 

Farren Connell, 294 

"Felire of Aengus," 89 

Fenton, Sir G., 204 

Fenton, Lady, 57 

Ferguson, Sir Samuel, LL.D.,57, 153, 

168, 217 
Fiac, St., hymn, 89 
Findlater, A., 118 



" Fine Arts in Ireland," 383 

Fingall, Earl, 169, 320 

Finlayson, J., 203 

Finn Barr, St., 372 

Firbolg monument, 152 

Fitzgerald, Lord Edward, 328 

Fitzgibbon, A., 215 

Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond, 375, 379 

FitzMaurice, Thomas, 136 

FitzThomas, John, 136 

Fleming, Alderman, 44 

Fleming, Archbishop, 325, 326 

Flints, 175 

Forbes, Bishop, 107, 135, 137 
Forfeited estates, 56 
Forster Collection, 310 
Foster, John, Speaker, 56 
Four Masters, 82, 198, 201, 202 
Foyle College, Derry, 137 
France, 8, 136 

Franciscan manuscripts, 87, 93 

Franciscans, Irish, 88, 92, 93 

Freemati^s yournal, 224 

" Free warren," 136 

French College, Blackrock, 103 

Froude, J. A., 194 

Gaidoz, Henri, 180 

Gardiner, Dr. Samuel Rawson, 193, 
194, 212, 231, 256, 262-264, 27O" 
272, 296, 300, 308-310, 313, 314, 

37o> 373> 374» 37^ 
Garstin, J..R., D.L., M.A., 157, 392 
Gates, Henry, 57 
Gaulish names, 125, 134, 146 
Gaveston, 145 

Genealogical and Historical Society, 

Gentleman^ s Magazine, 74 
GeofFroi de Marreis, 145 

Gilbert, Sir John T.— 

1829 -1848. — Family notes, 1-3 ; 
birth and boyhood, 3-8 ; school 
days, 8-1 1 ; letter to mother, 9; 
Prior Park College, 9-1 1 ; Bran- 
nickstown, 11 ; early devotion to 
chosen work, 12 ; fields and 
woods of Meath, 12-14 ; Villa 
Nova, Blackrock, 14 

1848- 1850. — Choice of a career, 16 ; 
Marsh's Library, 17; early book- 
collecting, 17, 18 ; secretary to 
the Celtic Society, 20 

1849- 1853.— Trip to England, 28- 
32 ; work in the Celtic Society, 
37 ; Irish Quarterly Review, 32- 
34 ; Royal Irish Academy, 34-36 ; 
Irish music, 38, 39 j Mystics, 40 

1853-1860.—" History of Dublin," 
50-62 ; " Streets of Dublin," 42- 
49 ; Cunningham Gold Medal, 62 

1855- i860. — Member and Hon. 
Librarian of the Royal Irish Aca- 
demy, 63 ; Secretary to the Irish 
Archaeological and Celtic Society, 
63-65 ; " History of the Viceroys," 
66 ; Castle of Dublin, 66 ; Dublin 
University Magazine, 66, 74 ; Irish 
newspaper, 66-68 ; Irish Quarterly 
Reviezu, 42 ; John O'Donovan, 
68-73 y Dublin Review, 74, 93 ; 
The Atheficeum, 74 ; Gentleman^ s 
Magazine, 74 ; British Association, 
75 ; excursion to Aran, 75 ; Sir 
William and Lady Wilde, 77-80 ; 
Kilkenny Archaeological Society, 
82 ; Irish Dictionary, 83 

1860-1862. — Irish manuscripts at St. 
Isidore's, Rome, 87-93 ; O'Curry's 
Lectures, 93 ; article on O'Curry's 
Lectures, 94 ; death of O'Donovan, 
96 ; memoir of O'Donovan, 96 ; 
death of O'Curry, 100 ; Cunning- 
ham Gold Medal, 109; "Cham- 
bers' Encyclopcedia," 117, 118 ; 
Dublin documents, 120 

1863-1866.— " Record Revelations 
by an Irish Archivist," 122-129 5 
member of the Royal Dublin 
Society, 144; "History of the 
Viceroys of Ireland," 144 

1867-1870.— Secretary to the Public 
Record Office, Ireland, 154, 155, 
156, 187-193 ; Dinner Club, 
R.I.A., 158 ; home and social 
life, 160 ; holiday abroad, 161 ; 
" Shamrock from the Irish Shore," 
163 ; death of his mother, 164 

1867-1873. — Historical M anuscripts 
Commission : Inspector in Ireland, 
165-170 ; " Facsimiles of National 
Manuscripts of Ireland," 168-275 ; 
letters to sisters, 172, 173, 246, 
247 ; trip to England with D. F. 
MacCarthy, 184 

1874- 1875.— Proposal to abolish 
Secretaryship of the Public Record 
Office of Ireland, 187-193, 411 ; 
letters from Wilde, 200-203 

1874-1878.— Abolition of Secretary- 
ship to Public Record Office, 
Ireland, 205, 206 ; illness, 206- 
209 ; death of sisters, 209, 210 ; 
D. F. MacCarthy's diary, 210-212 ; 
recovery and return to work, 216 ; 
" Facsimiles of National Manu- 
scripts of Ireland," 216-21S 



Gilbert, Sir John T. {contd.) — 

1878- 1879.— Todd Memorial Fund, 
222-224; the Cunningham Fund, 
224-226 ; ** Leabhar na h'Uidhri," 
227 ; " Leabhar Breac," 227 ; 
"Book of Leinster," 227, 228; 
Irish manuscripts, R.I. A., 227 

1 877-1878. — Historical M anuscripts 
Commission, 238-240 ; Royal Irish 
Academy, 242 ; Ormonde manu- 
scripts, 245 ; Kilkenny castle, 
245-249 ; Diary of D. F. Mac- 
Carthy, 252-256 

1879- 1880. — Literary life and works, 
267-278 ; " Contemporary History 
of Affairs in Ireland," 268-272 ; 
" Historic Literature of Ireland," 
273 ; Facsimiles of National Manu- 
scripts of Ireland, 274-276 ; 
" History of the Irish Confedera- 
tion," 277 ; Rinuccini memoirs, 
280 ; trustee of the National 
Library of Ireland, 281 

1881-1885.— Boswell's " Johnson," 
288-291 ; Charles O'Conor, 288- 
291 ; Dr. S. R. Gardiner, 296, 
300, 313, 314 

1887-1889.— Death of D. F. Mac- 
Carthy, 316; Irish Franciscans, 
317; Munster Bank losses, 318; 
death of Mary Gilbert, 318 ; 
Chartularies of St. Mary's Abbey 
and Abbey of St. Thomas, Dublin, 
319 ; governor of National Gallery 
of Ireland, 324 ; Irish historical 
portraits, 325-330; "Dictionary 
of National Biography," 330, 331 ; 
Dublin Corporation Records, 335, 
336 ; translations of Irish texts, 

1890-1891. —Marriage and home life, 
351-363 ; devotion to mother, 353 ; 
love of nature, 355 ; Irish humour, 
359 ; sympathy with animals, 
361 ; friends and visitors, 363 
1890-1897.— Literary activity, 364 ; 
Irish Bibliography, 365, 437 ; 
additions to library, 367 ; books 
and manuscripts, 368 ; Doctor of 
Laws, Royal University of Ireland, 
370 ; Knighthood, 370 
1898.— Last moments, 384, 385 ; 
death, 384 ; traits of character, 
385-390; letters of sympathy, 
390-398 ; obituary notice, 443 

Gilbert, Sir Humphrey, i, 431 

Gilbert, Sir John, i 

Gilbert and Sanders, 2 

Gilbert, Mrs. George, 319 

Gilbert, John, Consul for Portugal, 

school days, 2, 3 ; marriage, 3 ; 

death, 5 ; will, 6 
Gilbert, Mrs. John, 3-10, 14, 161-164, 

233, 234 ; marriage, 3 ; death, 164 
Gilbert, Edward, i, 2 
Gilbert, Eleanor, 14, 163, 209 
Gilbert, Henry, 2, 3 
Gilbert, Mary, 8, 14, 59, 163, 207-210, 

237, 246, 247, 252, 285, 286,316-318 
Gilbert, Philippa, 14, 163, 209, 210 
Gilbert, Lady, 356, 357, 382, 390-398 
Gill, M. H., 148 
Gilltown, 46 

Gladstone, W. E., M.P., 131 

Glasnevin, 186 

Glibs, Irish, 15 1 

Gold ornaments, 175, 1 76 

Goldsmiths' Company, 58 

Goodwin, T. H., 23 

Gormanstown, Lord, 329 

Gort, Lord, 228, 229, 230, 233 

Gosford, Lord, 107, 133 

Grafton Street, 21, 43 

Granard, Earl of, 169 

Graves, Charles, Bishop of Limerick, 

65, 77? 83, 90, 108, 109, 114, 134. 

146, 150, 171, 180, 228, 229, 232, 

249, 321 

Graves, James, B.A., 33, 49, 74, 82, 
97, 113, 127, 130, 131, 141, 146, 
149, 154, 213, 215, 219, 295, 302, 

304, 314 
Great Britain, 123, 143 
Gregory, Sir W. H., 174 
Grierson, Constantia, 140 
Grierson, G. A., 140 
Griffin, Eleanor, 3, 14 
" Guicciardini Aphorisms," 237, 269 

Haliday, Charles, 57, 104, 107, 119, 

141, 172, 250 
Haliday, Daniel, 172 
Haliday, Dr. Henry, 172 
Haliday, William, 172 
Hall, Sir W., 301 
Hamilton, G. W., 189 
Hamilton, H. C, 72, 124, 204, 298, 


Hardinge, W. W. H., 79, 100, 115, 
127, 149, 152, 154, 162, 195. 375 

Hardy, Sir Thomas Dufifus, 126-129, 
141, 142, 144, 147, 153-157, 182, 
1 87-191, 205, 209, 221, 239, 243 

Hardy, William, 280 

Hare, Dr., 54 

Harris, Edward, 57 

Harris, Walter, " Historv of Dublin," 
i 58 ; " William HI.," 75 



Haughton, Dr. Samuel, 92 
Haverty, Martin, 81, 82, 100 
Hayden, Dr., 207 

*' Haydn's Dictionary of Dates," 145 

Hayes, M. A., 182 

Hayman, Samuel, D.D., 52, 74 

Healy, Father James, 39 

Hell Fire Club, 55 

Hely, Chief Baron, 181 

Hennessy, W. M., 108, 143, 197, 305, 

337. 339. 342, 348 
Henrietta Maria, Queen, 239 
Henry H,, i, 145, 310 
" Hibernia Dominicana," 333 
Hicks-Beach, Sir M., 192 
Hickson, Miss, 305, 313 
" Historic and Municipal Documents of 

Ireland," 181, 182 
" Historic Literature of Ireland," 97, 273 
Historical Manuscripts Commission, 

165-169, 199, 209, 215, 232, 238- 

241, 244, 280, 283, 289, 291, 302, 

310, 315, 322 
"History of Dublin," 2, 50, 51, 58-62, 

72, 75, 77, 82, 97, 109, 121, 138, 

203, 385 

" History of the Irish Confederation," 
239, 274, 277, 283-285, 295, 296, 
305, 308, 314, 317, 373 

*' History of the Philosophical Society," 

*' History of the Viceroys of Ireland," 

58, 62, 66, 83, 139, 144, 145, 147 
Hoey, John Cashel, 306, 312 
Hogan, J., D.D., 392 
Hogenberg, 258 
Hogges, 177 

House of Commons, Dublin, Mace and 
Chair, 48 

House of Commons, London, 126, 339, 

Howth charters, 250, 251 
Hudson, dentist, 44 
Hudson, W. E., 22, 84, 116, 130 
Humphrey, Ozias, 3 28 

Icelandic Chronicle^ 200 
Innes, Cosmo, 179 

Ireland, 2, 118, 121, 131, 145, 148, 270, 
308. 348 

Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society, 
19, 20, 63, 64, 73, 83, 87, 90, 97, 
102, 124, 125, 130, 136, 142, 143, 

Irish Archivist, 122, 127-129, 141, 142, 

Irish Quarterly Review.^ 12, 32, 42, 48, 
51, 52, 55, 66, 81 

Irish antiquities, 118, 128 

bibliography, 365, 437 

Confederation, 239, 308, 317 

Council, 74, 130, 272, 

crosses, 197, 233, 383 

corporations, 22 

dictionary, 39, 83-86, 130, 348 

Dominicans, 334, 381 

Franciscans, 88, 317 

glossary, 257 

liturgies, 107 

manuscripts, 74, 257, 340, 341 

music, 38, 161 

names, 68, 177 

portraits, 160, 325-330 

ports, 2 

Parliament, 228, 231 

records, 69, 115, 123, 125, 126, 

128, 138, 140, 144, 151 

texts, 349, 413 

Irish Times, 128, 284, 376, 380 

Iron roads, 44 

Irving, Sir Henry, 235 

Isidore, St., Rome, 87-92, 106, 114 

"Jacobite Narrative," 364 
James I., 107, 118, 310 
James II., 56, 57, 181, 182 
James, Sir Henry, 170, 172, 173 
"Jane Shore," 45 
Japan, 71 

Jellett, Dr., 198, 199 
Jervis, Sir Humphry, 4 
Jervis Street, 3, 4, 160 
Jessel, Sir George, 241 
Johnson, Dr. Samuel, 288, 290 
Johnston's court, 2 

Johnston's "History of Drogheda," 

374, 378 
Jones, Fred, 52, 54 

Kane, W. J., 16 

Keatinge, Miss, 46 

Kelly, Bishop, 137 

Kelly, D. H., 75, 99, 196 

Kelly, Matthew, D.D., 17, 21, 89 

Kennedy family, 52 

Kerry, Earl of, 48 

Kerry House, 48 

Kershaw, S. W., M.A., 214 

Kerslake, Thomas, 258 

Kidder, Vincent, 58 

Kildare, Earl of, 43, 49, 70, 18 1, 293 

Kildare Street, 45-49 

Kilkenny, 181, 308 

Kilkenny Archaeological Society, 197, 

Kilkenny Castle, 149, 239, 245-247, 
282, 295, 313, 314, 365 



Kimmage, 6, 7 

King's, Archbishop, diary, 57 

King's, Inns Library, 56 

Kinsale, 301 

Krauenfleet, Mr,, 80 

Lane, Denny, 67, 371 

Lambeth Library, 72, 173 

Larcom, Sir T. A., 52, 83, 155, 176, 


La Touche, J. J. Digges, 154 

Lawless, Mr., 372, 373 

" Leabhar Breac," 108, 119, 174, 179, 

198, 199, 227, 228, 244, 257, 413, 


"Leabhar na h-Uidhri," 105, 170, 174, 
179, 180, 227, 228, 257, 343, 346, 

Lecky, W. E. H., M.P., 194, 271 

Lee, Sidney, 377 

Lefanu, J. S., 56, 57, 95 

Leicester, Earl of, 169, 280, 289-291 

Leinster, Duke of, 43, 169, 192, 232, 

242, 328 
Leinster House, 43-45 
Leland, Dr., 289 
Lenihan, Maurice, 229, 230 
" Liber Hymnorum," 135, 199, 284 
Library Association, 311 
Lisbon, 3, 17, 18, 195 
Limerick, 26, 78, 136, 233 
Little Hempstone, i, 2 
Lloyd, Dr., 134 
Loftus Manuscripts, 58 
Lombard's Apologia," 21 
Lombard's tablet, Christ Church, 203 
London, 3, 28 
London Review, 145 
Lottner, Dr., 134, 146 
Louis XIV., 239 
Louise, Princess, 301 
Louth, Knockfergus, 298 
Lou vain, Irish College, 88 
Luby, Dr., 134 

Lynch, John, D.D., 26, 130, 215, 261, 

Lyons, R. D., M.D., M.P., 38,67, 96, 
102, 310 

Mabillon, 132 
Macaulay, Lord, 4, 273, 318 
MacCarthy, Bernard, D.D., 347, 348 
MacCarthy, Denis Florence, 13, 17, 
39, 40, 44, 59, 81, 95, 162, 163, 173, 
184-186, 193, 194, 207-212, 224, 
232, 234-237, 241, 252-256, 260, 
262, 272, 316 
MacCarthy, 'Denis Florence, Diary, 40, 
184-186, 211, 212, 252-255 

MacCarthy, John, 13, 158, 202, 252, 

260, 286 
MacColl, Dr., 305, 331 
MacCormack, Bishop, 398 
MacDonnell, Provost, 76 
MacFirbis Glossary, 106 
McGee, Thomas D'Arcy, 117 
McGhee, Thomas, 217 
McGlashan, James, 50, 5 1 
Macken's Hotel, 151 
MacLeod, Norman, 281 
Macray, W. D., LL.D., 377 
MacSwiney, James, S.J., 284, 299 
Madden, Sir Frederick, 42 
Madden, Dr. John, 269 
Madden, Dr. R. R., 37, 211, 225, 241, 

272, 329 
Madden, Samuel, D.D., 42 
Magrath, J., LL.D., 396 
Maguire, Brian, 297 
Malaga, 3 
Malahide, 174, 176 
Manning, Cardinal, 356, 357 
Mant, Bishop, 265 
Manx Publication Society, 74 
"Maria Clementina Stuart," 364, 380, 


Marldon Church, i 

Marldon, Lovi^er, i 

Marsh, Archbishop, 265, 266 

Marsh's Library, 17, 302 

Martin, John, M.P., 83, 84, 98 

Martin, Sir Richard, 363 

" Martyrology of Donegal," 107, 134, 

140, 146 
" Martyrology of Tallaght," 89 
Mason, W. M., 130, 200 
Massereene House, 48 
Massereene, Lord, 48, 49 
Master of the Rolls, England, 72, 141, 


Master of the Rolls, Ireland, 131, 140, 
142, 154, 168, 187, 188, 191, 238, 

" Master of the Rolls' Series," 306, 307, 

Mater Misericordige Hospital, 201, 202 
Mathews, Charles, 234 
Matthew, Francis, O.S.F., 317 
Maturin, C. R., B.A., 61 
Mayence casts, 80 
Maynooth College, 87 
Meares, William, 46 
Meath, 3, 8 
Meath, Earl of, 169 
Meehan, C. P., C.C., 91,96, 119, 160, 

Merchants' Quay Ward, 55 
Meredith, Sir J. C, 396 



Merrion Avenue, 385 
Meyer, Dr. Kuno, 337, 339, 340 
Michael and John's, SS., Church, 201, 

Milco, Master, 70 

Milesian race, 201, 202 

Miot, William, 44, 45 

Moira, Lady, 46 

Molesworth Street, 48, 61 

Molyneux family, 135 

Monro's Scots, 296 

Monsell, W. H., M.P., 171 

Montalembert, Count De, 136, 139 

Moore, Father, 181 

Moore, Thomas, 2, 235-237, 241, 260 

Moran, Cardinal, 92, 148, 151, 214, 349 

Morani, Signor, 201 

Morgan, Francis, 181 

Moriarty, Bishop, 138 

Morrin, James, " Calendars," 122, 123, 

126-129, 139. 141, 144 
Morris, W. B,, 225 
Morrison, Alfred, 278 
Moryson, Fynes, 56 
Mountjoy, 73, 204 
Moytura, 78, 152, 201 
MulhoUand, Dr. J, S., 357 
MulhoUand, Judge, 3633 
Mulholland, Rosa, 357 
Munich, 132 
Munster Bank, 318 
Murphy, Denis, S.J., 329 
Murphy, P., 162 
Murray, Father, 8 
Murray, P. J., 151 
Mystics, Dalkey, 40 

Nantz, 80 

Napier, Alexander, M.A., 280, 288, 

Nation^ Dublin, 30, 77, 78, 279 
National Board, Dublin, 201, 202 
National Gallery of Ireland, 324, 372 
National Library of Ireland, 281, 282, 

Newdigate Prize, Oxford, 202 

Newenham Collection, 309 

New Grange, 152, 297 

Newman, Cardinal, 62, 90, 93 

Nicholas', St., Church, 46 

"Night before Larry was Stretched," 

Nigra, Chevalier, 256 

Nilsson, S., 149 

Norfolk family, 148 

Northmen in Ireland, 118 

Notes and Queries^ 219 

Nugent, Richard, 292, 293, 299, 328 

Nugent, Robert, S.J., 294 

O'Brien, T. A., Bishop of Emly, 333 
O'Brien, William Smith, M.P., 27, 

O'Callaghan, John Cornelius, 32, 71- 

73» 97, 159, 162, 164 
O'Clery, Michael, O.S.F., 88 
O'Connell, Daniel, M.P., 36 
O'Conor, Charles, 288-291, 294, 312 
O'Conor, Charles, D.D., 347 
O'Curry, Anthony, 102, 119 
O'Curry, Eugene, 65, 74, 83, 85, 87- 

91 » 93-96, 98-100, 107, 117, 119, 

143, 179, 225, 349 
, Irish Glossary, 103, 104, 146, 

176, 180 

■, "Lectures," 93, 94, 97, 99, 258 

, Manuscript Collections, loi, 102, 

104, 107, 119, 349 

, St. Isidore Manuscripts, 87 

, death of, 100, loi, 103 

, Memorial Fund, 102, 105, 106, 


O'Daly, Daniel, O.P., 333-335, 381 

O'Daly, John, 23 

O'Donnell, Hugh, 204, 316 

O'Donnell, Sir Neil, 135 

O'Donnell's, St. Columba, 89 

O'Donovan, Edmond, 114 

O'Donovan, Dr. John, 23, 65, 68-74, 
83, 85, 96-101, 105, 116, 117, 132, 
136, 143, 146, 179, 297, 298, 349 

, Brehon Laws Commission, 114 

, Manuscript Collections, 97, 102, 


, "Topographical Poems," 113 

, death of, 96 

, Memorial Fund, 97, 98, 106, 114, 

117, 136, 321 
O'Flaherty, Mr., 67 
O'Flynn, Richard, 298 
Ogham inscriptions, 82, 146, 228, 229 
O'Grady, Standish Hayes, LL.D., 337, 


O'Hagan, Judge, 160, 254, 286 
O'Hanlon, J. D., 331 
Old Dolphin, 47 
Oldham, W^illiam, 116 
Old Irish codes, 340 
Old Irish texts, translations of, 336- 

O'Looney, Brian, 183, 244, 397 

O'Neill, Henry, 197, 383 

O'Neill, Mrs. H., 383 

O'Neill, Owen O'Roe, 73, 218, 270, 

297, 300, 314, 316 
O'Neill, Sir Phelim, 250, 271 
Ordnance Survey, Ireland 75, 196 
Ordnance Survey, Southampton, 173 
Oriel, Lord, 104 



Ormonde Manuscripts, 49, 213, 216, 
239» 245, 278, 279, 310, 373, 385 

Ormonde, Marquis of, 49, 169, 181, 
245, 271, 313 

Ormonde, Marchioness of, 149, 212, 
216, 241, 245-248, 282 

O'Reilly, Mgr. Bernard, 371 

O'Reilly, Edward, 85, 106, 146 

O'Renehan, L. F., D.D., 22, 23 

O'Shaughnessy, Sir R., 314 

O'Sullivan Beare, 17, 18, 21, 329 

Ossory. Diocese of, 144 

Ostende, 172 

Oxford, 28, 70, 71, 113, 143, 171, 202, 

, Bodleian Library, 29, 70-72, 

295-6, 303 
, Irish Missal, 220, 228, 236, 264, 


Ouen, St., 258 
Owen, Robert, 47 
Owen, St., 258 

Palles, Chief Baron, 379 
Palmerston, Lord, 49 
Papal Bull, 138 
Parfitt, C, D.D., 29, 30 
Paris, 136 

Parker, George, 303 
Parliament House, 61, 365 
Parnell, C. S., M.P., 297, 299 
Paton, M., 17 
Patrician, The, 52 

Patrick, St., 70, 89, 1 13, 130, 133, 298 
*' Pembroke's, Countess of, Arcadia," 

Petrie, Dr. George, 38, 39, 78, 89, 149, 

150, 174, 202 
Petty, Sir William, 375, 379 
Phelan, Bishop James, 181 
Philip II., 334 
Phillipps's Manuscripts, 283 
Pictet, Adolphe, 84, 146, 176, 177 
Pigot, Chief Baron, 106 
Pigot, John Edward, 20, 40, 41, 66-68, 

80, 84, 93-96, 102-104, 119 
Pigott, T. D., 315 
Piranesi, 297 
Pius IX., 90, 93 
Plunkett, Lord, 323 
Plunket Manuscript, 309, 310 
Pole, Sir Maurice de, 2 
Pontifical, De Bernham, 108 
Popham, Sir H,, 186 
Porter, Sir A. M., 323 
Porter, Classen, 323 
Porteroise, 24 

Portraits of Franciscans, 325 
Portuguese celts, 196 

Power, John, 148 
Power, Father, 325, 326 
Powerscourt, Lord, 372 
Prendergast, John P., 44, 49, 218, 271, 

275, 305 
Preston's portrait, 25, 284, 369 
Prim, H. A., 114 
Prim, J. G., 14, 155, 181 
Printing in Dublin, 140 
Prior Park College, Bath, 9, 16, 28 
Private theatricals, 45, 46 
Privy Council, Ireland, 382 
Provost's house, Dublin, 76 
Public Record Office, Ireland, 54, 123, 

126, 153-155, 187-194, 205, 243, 

245, 295, 411 
Public Record Office, London, 138, 

170, 172, 173, 204, 301, 316 
Pynnar's Survey, 107 

QuARiTCH, Bernard, 281, 195, 252, 

Queen's College, Cork, 182 
Queen's Colleges, Irish professors in, 
25, 70, 125 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, i 
Rambler, The, 31 
Raratonga, 71 
Rathfarnham Castle, 46 
Rathmines, 374 
Rawson, John, 49 

Record Commission of Inquiry, 122- 

Record Commissioners, 53 

Record Department, 135, 139, 162, 171 

Record Office, London, 138, 170, 172, 
173, 204 

" Record Revelations," 122-129 

Record Tower, Dublin, 115 

" Red Book of Ossory," 219 

Reeves, William, D.D., 65, 79, 82, 
101-108, 112-114, 116, 117, 119, 
129-135, 137, 139, 142, 143, 147, 
152, 198, 199, 213, 219, 234, 250, 
305, 308, 311, 312, 322 

, *' Adamnan's St. Columba," 225 

Reeves, Colonel John, 113 

Reformation, 146 

Regicides, 301 

'* Register of the Abbey of St. Thomas, 

Dublin," 306, 319 
Reid, H. G., 315 
Reliquie Celtic he, 256 
Revue Celtique, 180, 346, 347 
Richard II., 72 
Richard III., 139 
Richardson, William, 17 1 
Richelieu, 280 



" Riley, H. T., London," 120, 121, 131 
Rinuccini, J. B., 239, 277, 294, 381 
, "Nuncio's Memoirs," 280, 289, 

290, 314, 371 
Robertson, Alexander, 370 
Robertson, Joseph, 117, 129, 142 
Rolls Office, Dublin, 126, 127, 138 
Rome, 88-91, 93, 151, 317 
Rome, Irish College, 148 
Romilly, Lord, 120, 121, 124, 125, 131, 

155, 162, 189 
Romilly, John, 238 
Roper's Rest, Dublin, 55, 56 
Rosenheim, 132 
Rossetti, Mrs. William, 261 
Rostrevor, 365 

Roth, David, D.D., 181, 305 
Rott, Rota, 132 
Round Tower, Dublin, 57 
Rowan, A. B., D.D., 55 
Royal Dublin Society, 43, 45, 49, 281 
Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts, 

Royal Irish Academy, 34-36, 43, 57, 
77-81, 87, 90, 96, 99-115. 125-128, 
132, 139, 142-144, 149-151, 157, 
158, 174, 175, 183, 196, 200-203, 
207, 227, 228, 250, 251, 261, 285, 
312, 314, 317, 318, 336-350, 365. 
384, 396, 404, 412, 419, 427, 437, 

Royal University of Ireland, 396 
Rumbold, Henry, 306 
Rumbold, Sir Horace, 306 
Russell, Charles William, D.D., 65, 

87, 148, 218, 242, 243, 281, 286, 297 
Russell, Matthew, S.J., 356, 363 
Russell of Killowen, Lord, 242, 363, 

365, 386, 391, 395 

Saffron in Ireland, 301 
Saffron Waldon, 302 
Salamanca, 329 
Sanders, Gilbert, 254 
Sanders, S., 170, 171 
Sandow, Lord, 281 
Santry House, 55 
Saturday Review, 286 
Saunders' News- Letter, 81, 233 
Savage, John, 17 

Schirmer, Dr. G., 337, 339, 344, 345 

School-house barn, 50 

Scot, T., 303 

Scotland, 165-168, 170 

Scott, Dr. J. A., 380 

Scott, J. E., 384 

Scott, Robert, D.D., 134, 135 

Scottish Records, 142 

Scottish saints, 299 

Scottish seals, 260 

" Sculptured Stones of Scotland," 74 

Secretary of State, 141 

Secretary of Treasury, 174 

" Sedulius Scotus," 348 

Seward, W. W., 298 

'* Seyer's, Bristol," 259 

Shakespeare, William, 300 

Shamrock from the Irish Shore," 163, 

234, 408 
Shea, Dean, 53 
Shearman, J. F., P.P., 258 
Shelley, Sir Percy, 185, 186 
Sheridan, Alicia, 2 
Sheridan, Frances, 2 
Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 2 
Sheridan, Thomas, 2 
Shirley, E. P., 82, 212, 214, 293, 328 
Shuffrey, H. J., 218 
Siegfried, Dr., 134 
Simpson, J. Y., 129 
Sion Hill Convent, Blackrock, 237 
Skeffington family, 48 
Skelton's Life, 308, 309 
Skene, Dr. W. F., 108 
Skinner Row, 45, 46, 48 
Slieve Mis, 70 

Smith, Dr. Aquilla, 57, 65, 80, 131 

Smith, George, 105 

Smith, J. Huband, 57, 201 

Smith, S. Catterson, 397 

Smyth, Thomas J., O.P., D.D., 334 

'* Sonnet on Gilbert's Dublin," 60, 407 

Southampton, Ordnance Survey, 157, 

170-173, 179, 184 
Spain, 8 

Spanish commanders, 334 
Spanish poetry, 194, 287 
Spectator^ The, 286 
Speranza, 77, 78, 81 
Stanhope, Lord, 69, 70 
Stanislaus MacCarthy, Sister, 235, 236, 

Starkey, D. P., 53 
State Paper Office, London, 49, 72 
Stearne, Bishop John, 265, 269 
Stephen, Leslie, 330, 331 
Stephens, Professor, 131 
Stewart, Sir Robert, 235 
Stockholm, 150 

Stokes, Whitley, LL.D., 91, loi, 106, 
108, 140, 148, 178, 198, 199, 257, 

336, 337, 345 
Stonyhurst College, 278 
Story, Dean G. W., 75 
Stowe Manuscripts, 343 
Stowe Missal, 266 

"Streets of Dublin," 42-49, 51, 52, 
55> 299 



Strongbow, 203, 258 

Stronge, Sir James, 297 

Stuart, Dr. John, 74, 129 

Stuart, Maria Clementina, 364, 380, 

Stuarts, 381 

Sullivan, Sir Edward, Bart., 205, 217, 
218, 244, 275, 323 

Sullivan, Dr. W. K., 60, 67, 80, 82, 
94, 102, 146, 160, 162, 182, 189- 
191, 201, 202, 224, 241, 243, 251, 

257, 348 
Sullivan, T. D., 313 
Summerfield, Dalkey, 164 
Sweeney, John, 203 

Sweetman, H. S., 262, 263, 31 1, 312 

Tain Bo Cuailgne, 94, 96, 182, 244, 

337, 338, 341-343 
Talbot, Archbishop, 196 
Talbot de Malahide, Lord, 51, 106, 

114, 169, 171, 174, 176, 220, 238, 

258, 283, 301 
Tallaght, 308 
Tempest, Lord A. V., 324 
"Theiner's Records," 148 
Thenedo, 136 

" Thorn's Almanack," 100 
Thompson, Sir E. Maunde, 200, 214, 

252, 313, 375i 

Thurneysen, Dr. R., 337, 338 

Ticknor, George, 237 

Ticknor, Mrs., 237 

"Tigernach Annals," 347, 348 

Tipperary, 3 

Tirone, Hugh, 73, 204 

Tisdall, Charles, D.D., 235-237, 300 

Todd, James Henthorn, D.D., 64, 83, 
86-88, 92, 96, loi, 102, 104-106, 
114, 116, 134, 135, 137, 140, 151, 
162, 174, 199, 222, 265, 337 

Todd Memorial Fund, 180, 222, 223 

Todd Professorship of Irish, 224, 346, 

Todd, W. G., D.D., 140, 141 
Tower of London, 72 
Towers, J. T., O.P., 332 
Tradesmen's tokens, 57 
Travers, Dr. Robert, 265 
Treasure trove, 176 
Treasury, 176, 182, 205 
Trim, 8 

Trinity College, Dublin, 16, 61, 103, 

105, 130, 152 
Trinity College Library, 99, 151, 179, 


Trinity College Manuscripts, 103, 167, 

Tufnell, George, 46 

Tupper's hymn, 71 
Turner, W. H., 243, 297 
Tyrconnell, 196 
Tyrone, Earl of, 73, 204 

Ulidia, 70 
Ulster, 193-194 
Ulster rebellion, 204 
Ulster tenant right, 31 1 
Ultan, St., 309 
University of Dublin, 16 
Ussher, Archbishop, 279 
Utrecht Psalter, 260 

Vallancey, Charles, 38 

Vane, Council to, 272 

Vatican Library, 90 

Verstegan, Richard, 68 

"Viceroys of Ireland," 148, 155, 156, 

181, 279, 299 
Villa Nova, Blackrock, 3, 14, 159, 160 
Violett of Bordeaux, 16 

Wadding, Luke, O.S.F., 317, 327, 

Waddington, W., 49 

Waldron, Laurence, M.P., 215 

Wales, Prince of, 173, 335 

Walker, J. C, 291 

Walker's letter to Mountjoy, 73 

Waller, Dr. John F., 40, 254 

Walsh, Reginald, O.P., 308, 381 

Wandesforde, Sir C, 53 

Ware, Sir James, 213, 231,256 

Ward, Hugh, O.S.F., 88 

Warner, F., 373 

Warren, F. E., B.D., 264, 266 

Wars of the Danes, 135 

Wasserberg, Earl of, 132 

Waterford, 2 

Way, Albert, 143 

Webb, P. R., 20, 26 

Webb, Sidney, 375 

Welsh surnames, 68 

Wentworth's Government, 204 

Werburgh, St., 46, 258 

Westmeath, Earl of, 292, 294 

Westwood, J. O., 196 

White Book of Ossory, 302 

White, Ignatius, 303 

White, Stephen, S.J., 21 

Whyte, Edward A., 3 

Whyte, Samuel, 2, 3, 21, 43, 403 

Whyte's, Samuel, School, Dublin, 403 

Whyte, W. J., 43 

Wicklow, 41 

Wilde, Lady, 60, 61, 77, 78, 241, 253, 
260, 286, 318 


Wilde, Sir William, 36, 40, 60, 64, 
65, 70-72, 75, 77-81, 100, 114, 116, 
150, 152, 158, 17s, 2CX)-203, 206, 

Wilde, Oscar, 79, 201, 202, 233, 241 
William III., 56, 61, 75 
Willoughby, Lady, 230, 231 
Willoughbys, The, 381, 382 
Windisch, Dr. Ernst, 337, 339, 341, 

343, 345 
Wiseman, Cardinal, 26, 138, 140 
Wogan portrait, 329 

Woodlock, Bartholomew, D.D., 

102, 103, 183 
Wright, E. P., M.D., 396 

"Yeh,ow Book of Lecan," 

339» 341, 343, 346 
Yglesias, London, 16 
Young Ireland movement, 71 

Zeller, Dr. F., 129 
Zetland, Lord, 372 
1 Zeuss, John Caspar, 84, 299